An Athlete’s Nightmare

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An Athlete’s Nightmare

Nikki Haller, Staff Writer

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One of the most frequent knee injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear. A sprain or tear is an injury to one of the ligaments or layers of cartilage that supports and stabilizes the knee. A knee tear may be partial, in which some of the structure is damaged, or completely, in which a ligament or meniscus is torn in two separates from the bone.

Athletes who participate in high demand sports like football and basketball are more likely to injure their ACL. 100,000 to 200,000 ACL’s are injured every year, mostly caused by sports.

The most common type of ACL injury seen in athletes is a non-contact mechanism. A non-contact ACL injury in sports, is an injury in which the athlete tears the ACL during an awkward movement that does not involve direct contact with another athlete.

Payton Weber, tore her ACL during an away basketball game. She went to plant and turn away, when she felt her knee move.

“It felt like I twisted my knee, kind of like when you twist your ankle. I remember most of it. Surgery was very scary at first, but I trusted the people around me and that helped a lot. After surgery, I was in a lot of pain and very dizzy. The first week is very hard on you mentally and physically. It wasn’t the best experience. It was very hard to do normal things like shower and sleep. They told me I’d be out 6-9 months, but I’m hoping to be back in 6! Coming back is something I can’t wait for. One of the biggest things my physical therapist and surgeon said was that you can’t hesitate or be scared when you’re able to come back. You have to trust yourself and whatever happens, happens.”

However, a direct hit to the knee, such as during a football tackle, can also cause the ACL to tear. An Alliance football player, Brady Ellis, tore his ACL in a football game.

“I don’t really remember much about it. I just remember getting hit, then my knee started to hurt really bad. I was very nervous about surgery, but I just couldn’t wait to compete again. Surgery was successful, but the road to recovery was rough and took about 5 long months. My entire leg hurt very badly, and I was very tired. After recovery was over, I was able to continue my athletic career. Coming back was one of the greatest feelings I’ll never forget.”

Being a high-school athlete with a torn ACL might be an experience you’ll never forget. You only have four years of sports, and even fewer playing at the varsity level. A torn ACL hinders that ability. Tearing your ACL can be career-ending, but with surgery, most athletes are able to return.


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