Sweat was dripping down my face; I could taste how salty it was as it got into my mouth. I could also smell the freshly cut grass. The play was called in the huddle, we hustled up to the line of scrimmage, and the lineman put their battered and bruised up hands in the grass getting ready for the play to begin. The ball was snapped, and the pads and helmets collided. The play was underway like normal. Then all of a sudden I felt a “pop!” in my knee and I was down, I was down and in pain. I was lying on the field in my green and gold football uniform with my knee throbbing with pain.

“Where does it hurt?” The trainer asked.

“In my knee!” I replied.

“Just relax, and try to remain as calm as possible” the trainer told me. As the trainer said that I could clearly tell something wasn’t right by the look on his face.

As the sharp pain was running through my leg the trainer was doing something to my knee that I wasn’t quite sure of, or frankly didn’t care about at that time. Once he got me on my feet, he and the coach helped me off the field not being able to put any weight on my right leg. Once we got to the sideline, he started feeling my knee and automatically knew something was wrong because it had already swelled up like a balloon. I was in an unbelievable amount of pain. The trainer (Joe is his name) asked what happened and I told him; someone fell onto the outside of my leg and my knee caved in and something popped.

The rest of the game felt like it took hours to finish because all I could do is sit there and watch them play when in reality there was only 10 minutes left. Once it was finally over I crutched my way over to the trainer’s room with my mom, who was also very disappointed with what happened, and he had to take another look at my knee. Why did this have to happen to me? Joe told us that he’s guessing it’s something pretty serious, and that we should get me in the doctors as soon as possible. I was crushed.

Right when we entered the Aurora hospital I was overwhelmed of the sterile smell of the place, and it brought back memories of how much I don’t like hospitals. I also had this bad feeling I knew that I wasn’t going to get good news after we talked to the doctor. So when I crutched my way into the office with my mom the doctor took a look at my knee, and I will never forget the look on his face after he saw it. His eyes got huge. That look did not give me a good feeling at all; it actually made me sick to my stomach. But after examining my knee and moving it around some more, he told me that he thinks I tore my MCL but I will need an MRI to make sure. Two days later I had my MRI, and it confirmed what the doctor thought. He said that I will probably be out for around 5-6 weeks. I just want to play. In order to make the recovery faster I would need to do a lot of icing (20 minutes/6 times a day) and rehab he said, and I was determined to play again that season, so I did just that.

Every day for 5 weeks instead of practice I had to go into the training room and do rehab, things like heel slides, single leg balances, mini squats, etc. Just to get the range of motion and some strength back in my knee. I hated it, not only because it hurt, but because I wanted to play so badly. I usually hate practicing but having to stand there and watch made me realize how much I actually like to practice, surprisingly enough. But I realized that the harder I work in rehab the quicker I would be able to play. I hurt my knee in the first game so if the time span for recovery was right, the next game I would be able to play would be the 6th or 7th. The worst parts was watching all the games especially when it got cold and all I could do is stand there and freeze.

Within 3 weeks my knee felt better, and I could walk without the crutches. During the fourth week we started to do a little jogging for rehab which didn’t feel the greatest but I was still able to do it. I also had to order a special brace for my knee for more stability and to help hold my knee in place. By the end of the fourth I week I could run with no pain at all, and then just to see how much I could handle Joe made me work out a lot harder to get me back in shape. He made me push the golf cart that we use at practice around the field, which hurt, not in my knee but the burning in my legs, which was good because my knee felt fine. After doing that workout I really felt good about myself, because I knew that I’m getting that much closer to being able to play again. After that workout, Joe wanted to set up another doctor appointment so that I can get cleared to play again.

Three days later my mom and I went to the doctor, but this time I had a pretty good feeling that I was going to get some good news this time. Once he started examining it the doctor seemed really impressed that wherever he pushed on my knee, I had no pain, and that the swelling was completely gone. He was so surprised because I was able to recover in 4 weeks when he thought it would have definitely have taken longer. He better say I can go play.

“You’re cleared to play” the doctor said.

I was beyond excited to come back and it feels great. Ever since that injury I haven’t had any problems with my knee, and I know that’s only because I worked so hard during rehab. I continue to do some more rehab for my knee because it still needs to get stronger Joe says. I couldn’t thank Joe enough for making me work so hard even when he knew that I wanted to give up.

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