It’s my freshman year at one of my soccer games, the crowd roaring loudly. Sweat is rolling down my face while my eyes stay on the ball. The opposing team comes running through our players. With the ball right in front, I see an opportunity to take the ball, so I run for it.
“POP!” I hear a noise coming from my leg. I drop on the floor unable
to move. The crowd continues to roar, yet I cannot hear a single thing. The whistle blows loudly. Everyone becomes still, and all eyes go on me. My mom and coach rush to
me. They bring me to the sidelines. Tears fill my eyes while I can’t move my leg. I think it will go away eventually, but I am very wrong. This is just the beginning.
At the hospital I found out I tore my ACL and would need surgery,
a new experience for me. When I was there, I found it fun and exciting, which seems strange since I thought I would be anxious. Except I enjoyed it because I want to be like those doctors one day.
Once my surgery was done I couldn’t feel anything. It hit me later; the pain was unbelievable. Doing normal things like going to the bathroom and taking showers was hard, and playing soccer would be impossible.
A week or two later, I managed to take my first few steps on my own.
I felt really proud of myself since earlier that week I was depending on my parents for mobility. Eventually I was able to do more things on my own. Still, I had to wear my cast and use my crutches since I needed to get stronger for it to be safe.
During all of this I needed to be consistent with doing exercises. It was hard to do them, but I wanted to get better because I wanted to be able to play again. Soon enough, I came back to school. Wearing my cast and walking to class with crutches was the worst. I hated having to be careful and cautious all the time. But that’s another thing I got from this experience — being afraid. Being afraid of having to go through all of this again.
Going to weekly physical therapy really helped me. They gave me reas- surance that if I work hard enough I’ll be better in no time. Except if I worked even harder, I would be able to go back to playing sports in about a year. This is the mentality I keep while going through this. I am pushing myself to get better.
At the beginning of this, I felt very sad and discouraged. Nonetheless, I have learned how
to have a more positive mindset. During my workouts my leg would be in pain, but I would tell myself “keep going,” “finish your set,” “you’re almost done,” which encouraged me and reminded me of how important it was to play again.
Memories of playing made me feel warm inside and eager to return. When I was younger, my dad would teach me how to play. He would pass me the ball and I would pass it back sideways. Even though I wasn’t good, I would always have fun. Soccer had an impact on my childhood, which plays a big role in my identity today.
I am currently doing great and close to being able to play again. I still haven’t hit the year mark, but a lot of progress has happened. Being injured while playing soccer made it more real to me. Having this surgery also showed me how important medicine can be, since now I have less knee risks in the future. From the surgeons who helped me to the nurses who prepared me, I became inspired to pursue my future career in medicine.