My story at Athlete’s Training Center has been nothing short of interesting.
It started in February 2019 when I was having terrible knee pain and my previous treatments were not giving me any relief and Athletes’ Training Center came highly recommended. I noticed a lot of reduction in my pain, which made me decide to play my last club volleyball tournament on March 31, 2019. I felt super good all day, but in the middle of a play I went up and came down – and that’s when I heard the pop. I knew immediately something wasn’t right. That was the most pain I’d ever experienced.
After an MRI and a doctor’s appointment, I found out I tore my ACL, MCL, lateral meniscus, and medial meniscus. I was so disappointed after feeling so good the day of the tournament. That day started a year of ups and downs.
I had my first surgery April 17, 2019. Not knowing what to expect was super hard. I will admit to a lot of rough days, but there were definitely more good days than bad. Everybody warned me about how hard physical therapy was going to be, but for me it was an escape from a regular day. My therapists made me want to try harder and want to get better. Each day I gained strength and accomplished more, and most importantly I kept hope even when the days did get hard.
By volleyball season I was able to train with the team and work on serving, which kept my mind off of not being able to play. It was hard to sit the sidelines, but I also learned a different side of the game. I learned the patience, wisdom, and insight from a coach’s point of view. I also found myself getting excited to be on the basketball court.
This changed overnight though. I was doing a normal PT workout and I went up for a layup and landed wrong. I didn’t hear the pop like before, so I just assumed I was fine. It swelled up for a couple days, but I kept pushing because I knew giving up wasn’t an option. I kept working and on testing day, my knee gave out again. My mom wasn’t sleeping at night, thinking that something was wrong, so she followed her gut instinct and called for an MRI. I went into my MRI open minded and assuming this was just a closure thing for my mom. I kept telling myself everything was fine and my mom was just being over-protective.
She got the results of the MRI when I wasn’t home, so when I came home from the basketball scrimmage that’s when she told me the unfortunate news. I re-tore everything I had been working so hard to recover.
I broke down.
I asked why.
Why would this happen to me when I had worked so hard and had come so far?
I picked myself up as best as I could and I went to bed. In general, the next week was rough. I had to go see Dr. Arnold to schedule a surgery, instead of being released. I had to go face my therapists in tears. I had to put myself together each morning and face people in the halls who had questions and comments on the situation. People asked if I was going to sue for the incident and that upset me even more.
Everything was getting to me and I had a really hard time. I picked up my bible and read about finding the purpose in the problems and that completely changed my mindset. By December 9, 2019, I was ready to take on surgery number two. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t upset anymore. I was ready because something inside me told that there was going to be something to come from this situation. I’m still not quite sure what that is, but I will find it. For this surgery, I had so much more motivation. I was hungry for revenge at the year of sports that had been taken from me and I wanted to be healed and back doing what I loved.
This included more than sports. I was barely able to show my 4-H animals in the summer of 2019. I also couldn’t do a lot of the things my family loved to do. My escape was always playing volleyball, so having that taken away was so hard. Missing basketball was hard too, especially being lucky to be part of an amazing team. Spring sports were undecided for me, and my knee surgery really didn’t give an answer either.
Fast forward to where I am now. I’d been playing through the pain since 6th grade when my knees first started hurting, but finally I feel like I am starting to feel normal again. I feel strong, even though the pain is still there. I feel more comfortable in daily activities, but I know I have more work to do. My therapists push me to work hard and do my very best – even if that isn’t perfect.
And, that brings me to my favorite thing about Athlete’s Training Center. It’s like my second home. I trust everyone there to push me to be better. I know they won’t give up on me, even when I give up on me. The support is unreal from each of them. All of the people there have impacted my life for the better and not only built my muscles, but built my character. The entire staff is so awesome.
After being released, what I am looking forward to is sports practices. I have missed so much time in the gym and I want to get some time on the court. Yes, games are awesome, but practice is where the growing happens. This is the lifestyle change I have made. I see this struggle as a growing process. It takes time and some struggle, but I will get there.
The final step of this long overdue process was finally being part of the sports training side of Athletes’ Training Center. This was where I have been pushed to increase my weighted lifts, make my times faster, and jump higher. This was the switch over from physical therapy – to be able to move into being an athlete once again. I made the decision to do sports training for about 3 months and each week I see myself getting stronger and stronger and see myself turning into the athlete and person I want to be. Each workout builds my endurance, my effort, and my dedication to get better.
This experience has taught me to be thankful for the abilities I have and to not take those for granted. It’s also taught me to make healthy lifestyle choices. I am driven to run and do workouts almost every day. I’ve made healthier choices in my diet and I drink more water than before. I choose to hike and enjoy nature whenever I get the chance. My knee injuries were more than just a physical struggle. They were mental and emotional.
Before I could heal the actual injury, I had to be able to get out of bed and be motivated to do better. To be better. For myself.
It taught me a lot about my character because I could’ve been completely negative about the situation, but I decided to choose positivity and learn how to overcome. A physical injury really brings out the true mindset in the person. It’s okay to give up sometimes, and I’ll be the first to admit I did, but you have to get back up and try again. You have to be willing to accept some failure to be able to succeed. Some days are easier than others, but never give up, push yourself, and work hard every single day.