Saturday, February 25, 2017

Gonna Leave a Mark: An Injury Story

It was early in Spring of 2008, and my compadres and I were preparing for the Panthers' Flag Football Tournament. The guys I played with were part of a tailgate that I attended for Carolina Panther games.
Needless to say, I was 10 years past my athletic days, and years of a stagnant lifestyle showed a top heavy, mid thirties weekend warrior. Basically, I was out of shape for competition.
I was at the Defensive Back position and my man caught a short 5 yard out. I came up to make the tackle. As I ran up, I made a stop and felt an odd twinge. During the twinge I small click sound came with the pain. I laid on the ground and my right knee just felt off center. No one was hip to my plight as I laid with my legs straight while sitting up.
As I surveyed my right knee the knee joint looked off center. I grabbed my right lower leg and pulled it away from the upper leg trying to separate the lower leg from the upper leg to reset the knee joint. I wasn't writhing in pain so I thought it was a sprain. However, the out of line look to my knee prior to manually reseting it left me a little inquisitive as to the nature of the injury. 
Refusing to believe I had lost ambulatory independence I stood up and walked off the field trying to regain normal gait. After the practice was finished I even went to the local pub to get a bite to eat with my teammates. I decided to wait a couple weeks to see if the swelling and the pain would subside. Needless to say I, after the two weeks I decided to set an appointment with a orthopedic specialist. He decided to schedule an MRI and found that I had a full tear of my ACL.
I decided not to reattach the ligament and go about life as normal taking a regular regimen of Ibuprofen. A couple years later, I started to get back into shape. The weight started to come off and I felt really good. At the playground, I was able to rise above the rim again and there was a pickup game at Carmel Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC on 51 at 6AM that I decided to join.
On a routine layup, after the ball was stolen from my man, the knee took a right turn as I was running straight. I couldn't tell the angle of improper direction it took but the other players said it was really gross. It happened again, and this time I went into shock. One of the big men started to lay on top of me because I got extremely cold. When I tore the ACL, it wasn't that painful. However, the two injuries playing at the church cause me to crawl into the fetal position screaming in pain.
Eventually, I crawled home, called in to work, and rested. Needless to say, I stopped playing. Four years later, I had found that the ACL had gotten hard and was poking into my meniscus. Also, the meniscus both medial and lateral, were tearing because of it.
This year, I am finally going to repair the knee. I go under soon and I actually looking forward to alleviating 10 years of hobbling and buckling in pain just walking down the sidelines as I coach basketball.