Episode 19 | Patient and PT Perspectives – Live Q&A

Show Notes:

In this episode, we dive into a live Q&A that I was invited to be a part of. Hosted by Matt Bobman of ACL Study Day and moderated by Jordan Angeli of The ACL Club. This was too good not to share. It’s a live Q&A talking with 6 athletes and physical therapists who are actively going through ACL rehab or who have in the past. We go in depth, from the lens of the patient and physical therapist, on how to navigate the ACL process, mindset, dealing with struggles, what we’ve learned and so much more.

Ravi Patel: What is up guys, and welcome back to another episode on the ACL Athlete Podcast. Today is a special one. I was invited to be a part of a live Q&A this past week. And it was hosted by Matt Bobman of the ACL Study Day. And it was moderated by my good friend, Jordan Angeli of the ACL Club. And this was a conversation between six ACL athletes, two who are physical therapists; including myself, who are anywhere from a few months out of ACL reconstruction to anywhere from 5 to 15 years out from it.

You get a wide variety of experiences in this conversation. And we go deep into all things related to the ACL, the process, the mindset, dealing with setbacks, even hopelessness, finding your community, what we’ve even learned about ourselves through this process. There is a lot that we talk about.You’ll hear from one athlete where she has gone through nine surgeries. Yeah, I said that right nine. But her story is remarkable. Megan is a true badass and it will bring you a lot of hope as you’re going through this process yourself. Because if she can do it as a junior in high school after nine knee surgeries, so can you. There’s a lot to learn from this. You get so many different experiences.

It’s really a deep dive into these conversations and ones that we need to be having. I was incredibly excited to be a part of it, and I learned so much from this conversation. I hope you do too as well. The audio on this will go in and out sometimes. Sorry, not sorry, but that’s technology. It’s not your phone, it’s not your device you’re listening on, it’s just probably the audio on the recording. Now, sit back, enjoy this episode, soak it all in. Cheers guys!

Jordan Angeli: Welcome everybody! It’s Jordan Angeli, founder of the ACL Club. And I am so excited to have you all here, a part of ACL Study Day in this great Q&A that we’re going to have in a really meaningful conversation about the patient side of ACL rehab. If you guys have been on the ACL Study Day curriculum, you saw me talked about my experience and what I have learned through the process of multiple ACL injuries. It was a big reason why I started the ACL Club, a big reason why I am a big advocate about what this process is like and how we can get better and grow from it.

And so the cool thing today is I get to be joined by five people, a couple of PTs, some of them I think currently, Christine, I think you are currently going through ACL rehab. Ravi had been through it. And the other three are in rehab right now, too. Some younger athletes. I’m so excited to have you here. I think we have the same order on our screen, so I’m just going to have you all introduce yourself. We’re going to start with Maddie. And just give us your name, how old you are, if you play sports, or what you do and how far out of injury you are and in the process of recovery. Maddie, why don’t you go first. 

Maddie: Hi, I’m Maddie, I am 17. I play soccer and I’m about two months out, I think, from surgery. 

Jordan Angeli: And this is two months from your second ACL? 

Maddie: Yes. 

Jordan Angeli: You’ve been through the process before and Maddie is now on the venture of the second one, which I think has a lot of cool mental pieces to it. So, we’ll dig into that. Megan, how about you? 

Megan Hebert: Hi everyone. My name is Megan Hebert. I’m a 17 year old soccer player, and I’m currently seven months post-op from my ninth knee surgery. 

Jordan Angeli: You heard Christine say that, wow. That’s a lot and we will talk about just the mentality that it takes to continue to persevere. First off, Megan, you’re a champ, seriously. Okay, Brandon, let’s go to you. 

Brandon: Hi, my name’s Brandon, I’m 20 years old. I’m a year and a half from my last knee surgery, but the full reconstruction was two years ago. I play basketball.

Jordan Angeli: I love that.I love those numbers, too. You’re in the fun stuff where you start to feel like you again. Congrats on that. All right, Ravi, you’re up? 

Ravi Patel: So my name is Ravi Patel and my ACL surgeries were 13 years ago, my first one. And then my second one was seven years ago. And now I’ve shifted the focus to working exclusively with a ACL-related patients. So that’s where I’m at.

Jordan Angeli: Show us your shirt, Ravi, the ACL Athlete. If you’re not listening to his podcast, go ahead and check that out, too. Christine, welcome. How are you? 

Christine: I’m good, how are you? I’m Christine, I’m 29 years old with PT. I had my surgery in March, so I’m like 10 weeks out. I used to play track and field in college and volleyball. But now I don’t, I just work out. I’m not trying to return to sport, but I’m trying to return back to everything I was doing before I got injured. 

Jordan Angeli: I love that. I went through multiple ACLs. I told you guys, I’m Jordan Angeli. I had three ACLs. My last ACL actually, this is when you know you’re in a good place. I didn’t even think about it. So that was a really exciting moment for me, it was 10 years ago. I’m happy to be on this side of it and happy to help you guys. Just talk through these things and navigate this continued process of working through trauma. I think that’s really what this all is about and how we can use it and hone it in into making it something that is useful for us in the future. I’m going to start with the soccer players who’ve had multiple injuries. What do you guys feel like has been on the patient side, the most difficult part of this process for you mentally? And I know this is a broad question, so I think that there are going to be different things that come up. But why don’t we go Maddie, and then Megan. What’s been most difficult for you mentally, Maddie? 

Maddie: Probably just staying positive and still like attending things. Because watching other people play the sport that you want to play is really difficult. And just keeping that positive mindset that that will be me again one day. 

Jordan Angeli: What have you done to help with that? 

Maddie: I usually hang out with friends. I feel like that just lightens the mood and makes you—especially soccer friends wants you to come back and be even stronger. So hanging out with friends. And then also I do journaling, which I feel like it has really helped.

Jordan Angeli: Does anybody else journal here or use some form of outlet? That’s fine. It doesn’t have to be specifically journaling. I think that just being able to get your thoughts out, whether it’s to a friend or a parent or a physical therapist. I’m sure you guys hear a lot of that. The ability to vent is so big in the healing process. Thanks Maddie. Megan, how about you? 

Megan: I agree with everything Maddie said. I think just I’ve had a lot of complications along the way. And I think just picking yourself up after those complications has been really, really hard. And going to a doctor’s appointment and just hearing like, “Okay, your ACL graft failed.” That sucks, that’s complete devastation. Just picking yourself up and trying to keep going and trying to stay positive. 

Jordan Angeli: That’s so difficult. And I think you can take that as, that’s a big thing over a long period of time. But I think that same step happened all the time during ACL rehab. And Christine and Ravi, you probably see this a lot – is when patients are progressing and then you either plateau or you regress a little bit. How do you guys as clinicians help patient to know that that’s part of the process to deal with these ups and downs? While always trying, saying it’s okay to feel emotions, right, Ravi? It’s okay to feel those emotions. But also it’s okay to be positive too, and know that it is going to get better.

Ravi Patel: That’s a good question. One of the things that I start off with any patients that I’m working with, is to set the expectations and knowing just that timeframe. You’re going to be, at least like a six, nine month process realistically. And setting the expectations, knowing that it’s not just going to be this perfect like linear line. And it’s that one is that, saying of like, what we think it’s going to happen it’s that line versus the reality of it. And this up and down process, as long as that trend is going up is the biggest thing. And I think that’s one of the things that I focus on most initially with a lot of my patients.

Jordan Angeli: Christine, Ravi brings up an interesting point here. And I actually probably want you Brandon to answer this too, because I think it’s interesting from a PT standpoint and an athlete standpoint. Timelines are hard. And mentally, they can be encouraging but also discouraging. How do you balance that as a physical therapist? Saying, “Okay, now you know what it’s like to be a PT and to progress somebody through the process.” But you also are in it now and know, okay, well, like Tuesday, I can’t do that. I’m not checking that box and moving on. How do you deal with that idea of a timeline?

Christine: I think that was the biggest reality check for me, especially when you’re treating patients, you always want to make sure your treatment is organized. And you’re like, “Okay, I’m hitting this, I’m hitting that.” You want them to feel like they’re making progress. But when it’s you and you’re feeling it every day, you have to like have a conversation with yourself and just be like, okay, today I did this. But you know what, two days later it didn’t feel the same, or next week it wasn’t as good. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to ever get better. It’s just like every day is different. Focus on the things that you can control and just don’t be so hard on yourself. The timeline is a blueprint. It’s not always going to be the same for everyone. Because I’m not a high-paid professional athlete, I’m not in a rush to get back on the field. Nobody’s losing the contract over what I’m doing. I have a whole year to get it right. Just take my time like little things. Be happy that you’re able to do this and just keep moving forward.

Jordan Angeli: That’s so good. At one point, I was a professional athlete and I did need to get back. And that was my third ACL and I felt like, “Wow, I just want to be healthy again.” Everybody just nodded their head. I want to feel like me again. Brandon, for you, you’re now a year and a half out of of surgery, correct? And did you feel like timelines were helpful for you as an athlete? Did you feel like knowing, okay, by three months I want to do this, by six months I want to do this. Did that help you to set those goals? Did you feel like they were also detrimental in some ways? How did that process work for you? 

Brandon: For me personally, being an athlete, you’re competitive and you always want to strive for those goals. And you can really grind on yourself by trying to accomplish those goals by that set timeline you set yourself. I always had to remind myself like, last week I wasn’t able to do this, but I was able to do it at least once this time. Maybe let’s strive next week. Let’s go two times, three times, instead of saying, oh, I did it once, I can do it every time now. That’s not how things work. It’s just relating to sports, oh, you kick a soccer ball into a goal. Oh, I can score whenever I want. But then you put a defender there that like, it’s just something different. And you just have to remind yourself about that every time. 

Jordan Angeli: I love that. That’s a really good point. And I think something that helps with those ups and downs in that process that Ravi… Have you guys all seen that video of like how you think or that image of how you think the things are going to go and it’s a straight line? Then how it actually goes and it’s like a cluster of a line. It’s what Ravi was talking about and what you’re hitting on there, Brandon is. Everything is progress, right? Even if you can’t do something, you’re progressing because maybe, I don’t know… Brandon was there a challenging part for you in the rehab process where you kind of felt stuck? And how did you find yourself getting through that feeling of being stuck? 

Brandon: It was more the weakness and the bending obviously with coming back. When you’re starting to do body squats and stuff like that, where you’re starting to get the full range of motion. And you go from one leg to another because you’re doing a bunch of single leg stuff. Always remind yourself… that was the main tough thing for me… I forgot what I was saying, the strength difference. That was a big thing for me. Just realizing that this was an injured leg.

Jordan Angeli: How do you guys talk to your leg? I like that you said that. Do you say it’s my injured leg, do you say it’s my bad knee, what do you guys say? I’m just curious. 

Christine: Sometimes I call it my “bum leg,” just like my bum knee. But then when I’m like working and it’s doing good stuff, I’m like, “Yes, knee come on.” Sometimes you talk to when it’s going well, when I’m like increasing my strength. I’m like, “Yeah, you feel it, you’re like, okay.” I’m getting some normal movements. And then other times I’m like, “where are you?”

Ravi Patel: I’m similar to Christine, bum leg, especially on the days where you’re just like, what are you doing? Just like looking down and just for that reason. With other athletes, I’ll try to get away from the bad and good connotation mindset. I’m sure we’ll talk about this more. Mindset is so big. If you continue to allude to it as the bad knee, it’ll always be the bad knee. So instead maybe injured or like the bum knee for right now is okay. But just those words…

Jordan Angeli: Megan, I’m curious about you because you’ve been through a lot of surgeries on the same leg. What do you think about your leg? What comes to your mind? Because I’m sure, and it’s okay, right? It is probably a very difficult thing to think of this knee as a powerful, strong, capable knee because it’s been through a lot of things and you’ve been through a lot. 

Megan: This is going to sound terrible, but my family calls me “peg leg Meg” because my name is Megan. So that’s wonderful. But I call it my $1 million knee. Because after all the surgeries, I’m sure it adds up to $1 million. 

Jordan Angeli: I like that you put a price tag that’s unachievable, but it’s a high price, right? This knee has been through a lot and it will be better at some place. Does it bother you that your family calls you that? Do you think it’s funny? 

Megan: I’m used to it. They just joke about it to lighten the mood a bit.

Jordan Angeli: Which is so good, right? Maddie was talking about hanging out with her friends. It’s so good to lighten the mood and just not think about your knee for a little bit. I think it’s important to understand how powerful our words are and how powerful our thoughts are about our knee. I personally found a big shift in my… I told you guys my last injury recovery. I’m done with trying to get and produce a timeline, I’m done with it. I understand that I should be here. I knew the timeline, I had been through it two times already, right? I knew the markers that I needed to hit. But I was over hitting markers and I wanted to feel like inside my brain and my heart, I wanted to feel like Jordan again. I wanted to feel like just healthy. And so that became my goal. 

I started talking to my knee different. I kissed my knee too, after workouts, which is so weird. But also it has created this appreciation between me and this body part that has been very difficult for me to get through in life at times .To say, “Hey, I appreciate what I’ve been through and what you’ve put me through and where we’re at now.” I understand we’re all at different places with our rehab. And maybe don’t feel like, gosh, I love, this knee. But once I changed the way I talked about my knee and about my leg, I feel like it really helped shift my mentality. Is there anything that you guys think [inaudible] just little that you have had that you feel has aided you in your recovery to find a positive amongst the negatives? Have you found that at all, Maddie? 

Maddie: I’m sorry, can you repeat that again? 

Jordan Angeli: Has there been something that you found that you’ve been able to shift your mentality in a certain way that has really helped you?

Maddie: Yes. I go to Loris with Julie.This kind of goes back to what we called our knees. At the beginning, I could not look at my scar one bit. And Julie just kind of was like, you have to look at it as like a healthy leg. And ever since I did that, I feel more strong. I feel like that definitely made a big impact. Because compared to the first one that I had, I always just looked at it as the injured leg. And I felt like it was always an uphill battle. But now it just feels like, it seems easier.

Jordan Angeli: I think Brandon goes to Loris, too, don’t you?

Brandon: I do. 

Jordan Angeli: Do you guys know each other? Are you guys ACL buddies? Do you work out together ever? 

Brandon: We’ve seen each other a couple times, but we haven’t. We’re not buddy-buddy, I would say, but … yeah. 

Jordan Angeli: The PTs are here too probably have seen that just when you have ACL athletes in clinic, how they support one another. And they ask, “Hey, where are you at?” What part of the process? Oh, I remember that, I remember being there. How have you seen that community? Ravi, you work in ACLs primarily. How do you feel like the community is a big part of it? And even just this discussion, being able to share and hear each other. How’s that in the healing process? 

Ravi Patel: It’s huge. It’s really hard to gain the perspective of someone who has gone through this process. Being able to talk to other people who have gone through this is huge. For PTs who are trying to learn that, it’s incredibly valuable. But the community of being able to see someone – if you see like a scar… I think we talked about this. But if you see someone and they’ve got a scar on their knee, you’re like, ” I know you.” It’s really cool to be able to know that there’s this community of people, and you know how long this process is, and how the ups and downs. And there’s a lot of internal things that people don’t see that you know that someone else who has gone through this processes has shared as well.

Jordan Angeli: Absolutely. Anybody else with that have had good experiences? Just talking to somebody else who’s been through ACL recovery process that want to share that.

Megan: I think like the post-op brace that you see, if you see someone wearing that, you’re like, “Oh, you’ve had an ACL reconstruction.” It’s a big thing.

Christine: My friends said the same thing. Two of my friends had their ACLs done and they’re like, “You’re going to see it.” And people are just going to be waving at you across the street when you’re walking around with that brace. They’re like, “You have ACL, I’ve been there. Everywhere I went, oh my God, that was me a year ago. It’s going to get better.” 

Jordan Angeli: And it’s so nice when you’re on that side and you’re hearing people say that. I think one of the hardest parts, and maybe why this ACL community, if you see a scar, you don’t know at what point in the process that person is. I felt and I don’t know, maybe one of you three younger people can talk about this. But I felt like at the beginning when I physically looked like I was injured, I felt more supported because people were like, almost to the point where I was like, okay, this is enough. I don’t want your pity. It was pity. We think we’re strong and we don’t need help and all of these things. And then you get to a point where you look normal and you can walk and you can run and people just forget about it. And you’re like, but I’m not there yet. I’m not even close. And I feel like I don’t have people that support me. Did you guys find Maddie, Megan and Brandon will go in that order? Did you guys find the later stages of [inaudible] Did you feel supported because you didn’t look injured? 

Maddie: I feel like towards the end you’re so close that you’re almost too eager to feel like. There’s so much can happen in that little time. And if you don’t have the support, you kind of overwork yourself just to feel how to be back. I just think it’s very difficult and people kind of forget. They’re like, “Oh, she’s close. She doesn’t need the support.” I feel like the last stages are the most tough, mentally too and physically. 

Jordan Angeli: How about you Megan? 

Megan: For me, it was kind of opposite because of all the complications I’ve had. One of them was a femoral nerve damage where I couldn’t lift my leg for a whole year. I had everyone like say, “When are you going to be able to lift your leg? That’s not right, blah, blah, blah.” I was going to school every single day, so it was really hard for people to be like, “Well, when are you getting the brace off? When is this going to happen?” I don’t know. Because the surgeon told me, we don’t know when you’ll be able to lift your leg again. I was like, I don’t know when I’m going to be able to do that. So that was really hard to like, I didn’t have a definite answer. 

Jordan Angeli: Was that from a nerve block, which I think is an important thing to talk about. I didn’t have a nerve block for a few different of my surgeries and then I did in the latter stages. But I think it is important to understand every decision we make… it is a major surgery and there are consequences. I’m sure Megan, for you, in that year it was really challenging to hear that over and over again from people. Was there anything that you did to say, “Hey, I don’t know.” How did you communicate with people to say like, “I’m in the same boat. I don’t know.” I personally can’t deal with all these questions. That’s how I would feel. I don’t know if that is how you feel. 

Megan: I wouldn’t explain to every single person what happened obviously. For the people especially that I was close with, they had a lot of sympathy for me because that was really devastating. Just like something so simple, being able to do a straight-leg raise was so hard for me. I think just explaining that and then just getting some kind of sympathy for it really helped. But for other people that were talking behind my back about like, how I was like faking it. I’m like, I’ve had so many surgeries. I don’t think you can fake that. It was really hard, but I kept going. That’s all you can do really. 

Jordan Angeli: Thank you for sharing that. I think it is powerful, too, at certain stages. We all go through this rehab and one of the things that I think we all can agree that we learn the most is how to communicate. Because it’s empowering to communicate properly with your family [inaudible] you don’t have that communication. They have thoughts of their own and they don’t know how to approach you in certain areas. And so by just saying like, hey, this is where I’m at. I can’t deal with this right now. And it’s not you, it’s me. I’m going through a lot. I remember telling my team –- I was a captain – I can’t do this anymore because I am not fully here and I love you guys and I love your support. But if I continue to do this, I am going to be detrimental to myself, which therefore isn’t helpful to you. Just learning to communicate is so empowering and it’s uncomfortable at times too, which I think why is really empowering. Brandon, do you have any thoughts on the last question the girls answered as well? 

Brandon: I think it’s nice to have at Loris you’re working out with athletes that they haven’t had any injuries or anything like that. But you’re also working out with people who have. And it’s always fun because you always see people – they see you like kind of mature and grow. You’re doing different things. You’re actually starting to look like an athlete again. They’ll be kind of watching you from the sidelines. And every once in a while they’ll be like, “Hey, you actually kind of look like an athlete now.” Before you could tell that you weren’t like at yourself. But now we can truly like see you. And it’s just like kind of reassuring. That was a really a positive thing for me personally, was getting it from other people than my family, my therapist and stuff like that. Because they always say that you always in the back of your head, you’re always saying like, they’re just saying that to keep me positive. But when you see it from someone else, like a stranger and they come up and say that, it was probably one of the most positive things to happen to me.

Jordan Angeli: That is such a good point, and it makes me think of perspective. Because your perspective, Brandon, was I’m in physical therapy, I’m doing this every single day. And yeah, you can feel growth, right? You can feel it, but you don’t always see it. And so then you pull back and you see this grander perspective from somebody else’s point of view that has only seen you at little blips, seen you two weeks ago and then seen you now. And they’re like, “Go on Brandon, you look good.” And it’s cool to have that change of perspective because I think it does get you out of the grind of every single day. Because we all know that it’s a grind. 

This has been so fun and we have so many questions. I haven’t even gotten to any of the questions because I’ve just been rolling here. But we’re going to get to some of them you guys submitted, if you’re watching here. You’ve submitted some questions and they’re really, really good. We’re going to start with this one. To Ravi and Christine for the PTs: do you guys find it valuable to share your own experiences with ACL injury and rehab? We’ll start there. And then I think the second half is for the patient saying: do you find it valuable when you know your PT has gone through this rehab? So Ravi, why don’t you get us going? 

Ravi Patel: It’s huge, I think, to be able to share the perspective, especially going through the process yourself – the relatability. And if we’re talking about communication, there’s nothing that creates more buy-in than being like, I’ve been through this process myself. And even if you’re not a PT who has not gone through this process, being able to kind of relate to that aspect is really important to know. It’s not just a typical shoulder pain injury or something like that. It’s different. And every one of us here can vouch for that. And I think sharing, especially if you’ve gone through it yourself, sharing that and knowing, especially when those times are really low to be able to show like, “Hey, I went through that myself, too.”

Christine: I agree. I definitely think it changed my perspective after getting injured, because this is my first ever injury. With patients, when you’re talking to them, it’s like very easy to just go off textbook or just like prior patient experiences. But when you’re with them and if they’re not in the same age group, but like they’re active and they want to get back to things, just taking it outside of the clinic. It’s not like, okay, you know, your exercises look great, but like, how are you doing your everyday life? How’s sleep going? How is it like getting in outta the car? Is it like when you’re with like during social events? Little things like that. Because in PT, I feel like we’re so focused on functional movements with exercises. Your movements are much more extreme outside of that. Being able to check in with your patient at different levels and just communicating and have those stories resonate with them, I think it makes their experience a lot better. They trust you more. 

Jordan Angeli: I want toi get back to that because there’s something in there that I think we can dig into a little bit more. Let me go to the other three really quick. Did you guys have physical therapists who have been through ACL injury or injuries? And does it help you as the person going through it now to have your PT share that information with you? Brandon, you want to start and then we’ll go backwards, Brandon, Megan and Maddie.

Brandon: I don’t truly remember if my physical therapist if she tore her ACL or not. She’s dealt with it multiple times. She’s rehab also many other people. Just more of going off of those I would guess. I don’t know for sure. It’s a tough question for me to answer. 

Jordan Angeli: Maddie’s shaking her head, too, I don’t know if she knows. You both work with Julie, right? Or you worked with Julie? Julie’s brain for these things is just so incredible. And I think one of the things that I love most about physical therapists is their ability to always seek something more and say, okay, what do I need to learn? What do I need to know that is a way to do this differently or better as I did last year? That constant growth. I’m sure that’s something that connected you with her. Megan, did your physical therapist go through? 

Megan: I’ve had three physical therapists. I switched three different times just to find the right PT, especially after having so many complications. It was really hard to find someone who could cater to what I’ve been through. The one that I’m with now in the past two – no one has been through an ACL surgery. But they’ve worked with a ton of athletes. And especially the one that I’m with now, has actually worked with the Patriots because I live in Massachusetts. That’s been really cool to go there. And be like, oh you’ve worked with like Tom Brady or something like that. 

Jordan Angeli: That’s great. Megan, before I go back to Christine, I want to talk to you about that. Because I switched to different physical therapist as well. And I feel like it was one of the different conversations that happened [inaudible] I have to have to run. You know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I can’t, I have to switch. Again, it’s nothing to do with that PT. I knew it didn’t serve me. How did you personally know that it was the right time to switch to somebody different? And how did you go about that conversation? Because I think there’s going to be people that maybe hear this that are PTs, that hear this information and feel maybe hurt that that person switched from them. But there’s also maybe people listening that need to switch and they need to feel like, I feel empowered to do what’s right for me.

Megan: I felt like I was going through a breakup and that’s kind of traumatic. I can’t do it. Because my first PT, I was with for two years, I want to say. They were with me through like surgeries one through five. But after my ACL reconstruction where I faced all the complications, I could tell they were getting frustrated as much as I was. I just knew that it was time to move on. And I went back and forth every single night for like a good month. I was like, do I switch, do I not. And I think switching and getting a second opinion per se, was really good for me because that same day that I had my second consultation with a new physical therapist, I could lift my leg again. And that was after one year. And I was like, wow, I didn’t know I could do this. And just having that it was really rewarding. That PT at the time was like, you couldn’t do this before. It was so challenging. And I also creating a bond with a new physical therapist was really, really hard and I had to like trust the process.

Jordan Angeli: I can relate to that so much. I think at the end of the day, the thing is, we get one life and nobody knows what our process is like except for us. If in your gut you’re feeling I need to move, I need to go to somebody else, know that that is a valid feeling. And listening to yourself and pursuing whatever is next can actually allow you to maybe break free from something that was holding you back. And saying, “Okay, I have a hand in this really like [inaudible] at least I made decisions that make me feel like I am putting myself on the path that feels right to me. So I just commend you, Megan, like that. I know those conversations are hard and it takes a lot of [inaudible] with your family and all that. Tough decision, but I’m glad you did that for you. Because at the end of the day, it’s your one life you get to live, you have to stay true to yourself. Go ahead Meg. 

Megan: I will add that the insurance companies, they will cut you off. They will say “no more PT for you.” I remember that was another factor. I switched PT clinics and I don’t know if they’re insurance based, but I got approved more visits. At this new place, it was really helpful along the process as well. Because they need more PT and I still need PT four years later.

Jordan Angeli: That’s a really good point. And I know a really difficult thing for me was understanding that I would have to continue to invest in this, unfortunately beyond my insurance. That I had to say, “Okay, if I am going to be healthy again, I know that this isn’t done. Because PT says it’s done.” I know I needed more. And that’s difficult. I know that everybody’s life provides different financial means. But knowing that, again, it’s an investment in your future and your health and all those things. So that’s a really good point of, I don’t want to get into insurance, but it’s a good point. 

Jordan Angeli: Christine, you mentioned something and it is something that you wrote into when I was getting to know you guys before this. This idea of we go to physical therapy and we hit these markers, but no one’s like, how do you get in and out of bed? How do you go up and down the stairs? Can you talk through that and how that changed your approach as a physical therapist? And maybe something that can be helpful for the PTs listening, or even the people listening that are going through rehab right now. To say, oh, maybe I should ask about this, or maybe this is a good exercise to have them do that is working the same muscles. But is a real life almost hack to say, okay, this will help your life a little bit better. 

Christine: I think I definitely noticed it more because I did prehab before my surgery. During the prehab, you’re progressing way faster. Because even though your ACL’s gone, everything else is intact. After the reconstruction, now you’ve moved things around and your body’s been open and now you have to heal. It wasn’t just like, okay, now you can do a straight-leg raise as you don’t have an extension leg. Let’s just start like walking. I’m walking with this crutch. I’m walking crazy. I’m walking down the stairs. I had my crutches and I have 16 steps into my house. I would like throw my crutches so I could get down if I’m like in a rush and I have to use my one arm. This is nothing and I’m going to hurt my shoulder, hurt my hip. I’m in my PT and my PT is like, oh wow, you’re getting so much stronger. And I’m like, I don’t feel strong. I can’t do anything. Getting out of bed, I would be like, okay, how do I feel in the morning? How I would get out of bed. I’d be like, okay, let me try not to keep my leg up in the air. I would like straighten my leg and lift it and slide it over. And I’m like, okay, that’s not how normal people get out of their bed. Just challenging myself to bend my knee when I could bend it and then get up the way I would normally get up or redoing things when I get out of the chair. I’m like, okay, am I leaning over to one side? Sit back down, do it five times and see how it feels. Just testing yourself in those aspects. Getting out of my car was really big. I would practice just walking in my complex, walk and then stop and thinking about it. When you’re teaching someone how to walk, it’s so weird, it’s so robotic. I was like, just stop digging and just walk. Because you’re taking so much time and it’s just like, talking about those things with patients. Because we always learn certain cues and we’re like, okay, squeeze your quad or really try to straighten the leg when you walk. When you’re in a crowd or when you’re in a rush, those things go out the window. I think being more specific with what your patients have to do and then also letting them to relax. Don’t think about so many things. You’re just going to make it more complicated than it is.

Jordan Angeli: If you can slow it down, it helps you feel what it feels like on the other side so you can almost mirror that on that same side. Do you guys have any hacks that you’ve acquired through the process of things that were really helpful for you in rehab? That you’re like, oh, nobody ever talks to you about this, but you should. This is something that’s helpful. 

Christine: Videos, using your camera. I was using my camera to take videos of myself. I’m like, let me just see what I look like when I’m walking, I think I’m walking normal. 

Jordan Angeli: I love that. Brandon, do you have anything?

Brandon: It kind of the same thing as Christine was saying. It’s kind of like mirrors too, when you’re working out, just going in front of like a mirror when you’re like, oh, you walk by a mirror. Let’s see what a squat looks like right now or something like that. Or just kind of like looking at it almost, and like, I don’t know, it’s just little tiny things. It’s not anything big for me.

Jordan Angeli: I love mirrors. You kind of feel vain at first. But then you’re like, no, I look good in these squats. I’m going to tell myself I look good because this has been a long process and I need the positivity.

Brandon: Totally. 

Jordan Angeli: Maddie, how about you?

Maddie: I would’ve to say the same thing as Christine, I had trouble walking. Because I think I was just like thinking about it too much and I was like breaking down the motion so I looked like a robot type of thing. Watching myself walk, I was like, I look like that. It’s just like seeing it from like another perspective and being able to then just put the motions together and be fluid with it, was a lot easier after I saw myself walking. 

Jordan Angeli: Megan?

Megan: I think the videos are very helpful as well looking back. Because you could see how far you’ve come along the process. I’m planning on making a whole video about everything that I’ve gone through, so I’m excited to see how much I’ve progressed.

Jordan Angeli: I love that. Ravi, do you have any any hacks? 

Ravi Patel: Hacks? Probably using their crutches, I think in different ways, whether it’s even just like a leg prop, you get the little whole thing. 

Jordan Angeli: I just found that out. I was like, that’s amazing, so smart.

Ravi Patel: Or even just whenever you’re starting off in the initial phases, using your crutches as much as you need. Because we’re trying to get away from them so fast. Talking about the gait or learning to walk, not trying to ditch it too fast to where we’re trying to overrely on our knee at that current moment. So using the crutches as much as we need. And then once that stuff kind of normalizes, we can ditch them. 

Jordan Angeli: My hacks are like, at the beginning, I think wedge pillows. Buying a wedge pillow and propping your leg up is like something people don’t think about. A shower stool, to put in your shower in a handheld shower thing so you could do something that is so normal. I think those are the hardest things. The normal everyday things that you just can’t do. I remember crying when I couldn’t carry a glass of water from the kitchen to the living room. I’m like, why are you crying? It’s a normal everyday thing. That you can do all the time and you can’t do it. The shower stool I feel like helped when I had to go to the bathroom, I could like prop my leg up so it wasn’t so much pressure on my knee. I think of like those things that really helped me that are easy. Something to get right at the beginning that make you feel a little bit more comfortable and you can have control over certain things. But that goes near such things. 

Okay, let’s to some of these things you guys can tell, I can just asking questions off of what you say. We had a question about, how important is it to still make practices and team meetings throughout the rehab process? And I think this will have a variety of different answers. So, Maddie, do you want us to start us off there? 

Maddie: For my first ACL I like attended everything. I still went to a lot of the out-of-town tournaments and I attended practices. And I thought it was nice. But I don’t know, it didn’t sit right with me because watching people play just kind of like brought the mood down for me, I guess. It was nice to see my friends, but going to everything and seeing people play and I can’t do that kind of stuff. I don’t know. I feel like that kind of like hurt me a little bit. So the second time around, I maybe go to practices once a week and then a couple of games on the weekends. I feel like I’m in a way better mindset, I don’t know why. But hanging out with friends and not worrying about the soccer part of it, I feel like it helped me see a positive outlook on it. 

Jordan Angeli: I love that, Megan?

Megan: For me, it’s really hard because everyone would ask me, “When are you coming back? When are you going to get back on the field?” I’m like, “I don’t know. Maybe after the next surgery.” But now that I’m like at a place like nine knee surgeries later, I’m really, really missing soccer. I haven’t been to a practice or a game in two years, but I kind of want to start going back. I’m a junior in high school right now. I’m going to try to play soccer for my senior year hopefully. Fingers crossed. I hope that this summer I’ll start going back to practices and stuff. 

Jordan Angeli: Good, I love that. Brandon, how about for you? Are you fully integrated back into playing and you’re playing basketball and you’re feeling good?

Brandon: I like this past year was when I really felt fully normal. But going to team meetings and stuff like that, I was in high school when I tore, so it was my senior year. It was really tough because in my senior year, you’re supposed to be at your best. This is when you feel like you’re the best. But going to practice, I would literally have to read a book at practice. I’m just like, I can’t watch this, but I want to be here for my team. I understand that battle, but that was just something I did where I would literally have to distract myself until I started to become normal with it and accepting it more. I went to everything. It’s just a big mental game you have to play with yourself, remind yourself like. This is what I love, this is where I want to be, this is where I want to like go, but I’m not there yet. It was one of those things for me. 

Jordan Angeli: I think that you bring up a good point, too. I talk about the grieving process often because there are stages to this and like denial is a stage. We all go through that where we’re like, no way. Why me? Why did this happen to me? I don’t want to be here. And then we go through anger and we then accept that this is the path that we have. And from there, we feel like we can choose what’s next. We can choose our attitude of going into the next thing, not to say our attitude is always perfect. I think that’s the beauty of being a human is we get to feel these things. And if we constantly suppress the feelings that we have, it makes the healing process a lot different.

I’m curious, Brandon, because I know we all grew up as athletes. We all played intense sports, growing up. And the thing that was really difficult for me is physically. We can do anything. We all can look at each other and be like, oh, you tell me to do that. I’m going to go do it. But the mental side, even if we think we’re strong mentally as an athlete, like I can push through that sprint progression that we have to do. I can be there in the 90th minute, making a sprint down the field. All these physical things that we think. That’s the mental toughness. I think mental toughness is so different than that. How did you find you grew mentally stronger, Brandon, through this process? Because I think as an athlete we’re told like, work harder, tough it out, man up. All those things that you don’t feel like you’re strong if you don’t feel those things. And I think that that’s an illusion of strength. I think strength is actually all these things put together. And I just am curious if you felt that tension of having to be strong, but at the same time feeling your emotions and saying, all right, it’s okay to feel these things. 

Brandon: Yeah, I would say I totally agree with that. It was a big thing that I learned with patience. That was the biggest thing I ever like took away from this, is being able to be patient with yourself, but also be patient mentally. Telling yourself like, I still have this much to go in my rehab. But then also being competitive and doing all that stuff and telling yourself the athlete in you to push yourself, too. The main thing takeaway is patience. 

Jordan Angeli: I like that. Ravi, I’m going to go to you next because you have gone through the experience and you’re also now helping people through ACL rehab. And there are moments where you’re like, you can do this, you can, and people are scared, it’s okay. They’re fearful of doing something they’ve never done or saying, can I do this? How do you walk people through that, that emotion of saying, all right, physically you’re there, now we need to work on you believing that you’re there?

Ravi Patel: I think really trying to frame it in the sense of these small wins as you’re working with different athletes and different patients. The small wins are big. If you as a PT should have a good gauge of the person or the patient and know what they are capable of and what they’re not capable of. And the biggest thing that I would stress here is knowing the athlete, and knowing are they someone who is going to themselves and yet got to kind of hold them back a little bit? Or is it someone who’s going to overdo it because here is an athlete. So usually when you get challenged, you’re like, I’m going to do that. But the thing is as a PT, you got to know where’s that fine line. And if you know that they’re physically there based on the rehab and the training that they’re doing, then sometimes you do need to give them that nudge. And be like, look, you can make this happen. And maybe there’s videos, now using videos so much. Being like, look, you’ve already done all of this. This is just one little step further and you can do it. Encouraging in that way and knowing where they’ve come and where they’re at now, I think is really big.

Jordan Angeli: That’s good. And it brings in that patience too, that Brandon was talking about patience, small wins. I’m a big stickler on small wins. Those little things just add up and before you know it. I have a question from someone that a couple of real mental questions. Somebody asked, do you have any feelings of hopelessness throughout the process? And I think that I’m going to combine that one with this thought of, do you have any tips on the mental side? If you guys want to answer this question, feel free to just tell me. I’m not going to call on everybody. I think this is challenging. This is a hard process to feel… some people go through it and it’s fine. But some people there is feelings. I know I felt hopeless at times and I felt like, man, I’m never, I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I can talk about the things that I did to help me on the mental side, but I’m just curious if anybody wants to take that and talk to that a little bit. Brandon? Unmute yourself. That’s right. We’ve all been there.

Brandon: I would say when I first heard the news that it happened for those first month area, you really feel like you’re on an island. You don’t really have anyone. You have your family around you, but none of them know exactly what you’re going through. You might have, an uncle or something that’s torn their ACL, too, because it’s very popular. Every circumstance is different and you know that. And one of the things that I did was kind of what Maddie does, is that you go hang out. You take a step away from it too, and go hang out with friends. Even if they just come over to hang out with you, just having other company and seeing other people is a really big thing. And then also giving you compliments, oh you’re out of the brace now. Nice job! Are you walking? Stuff like that. Really helped me personally. 

Jordan Angeli: I love that. So on the mental, you felt the hopelessness. But being around your friends really helped you mentally to understand. You’re still just one of their friends. You’re not any different because you can’t play your sport, which I think it makes us feel different. When we can’t participate and what makes us feel so alive, we feel like we’re not us anymore. And that’s not how your friends make you feel. And I think that’s a really important thing to recognize. 

Christine: I agree. When I found out, I was like, nah. When the first time I did the Lachman test, it was him and his resident. And the resident was like, “Oh, you got an end-feel.” And the doctor was like, “No, it’s torn.” And I was like, “I don’t think it is.” And he goes, we’ll see, like on the MRI. I was like, I hope it’s not. And then I got the MRI and he is like, “It’s a complete tear.” And I was like, what? And then I was just like going through like, okay, how far can I get without this ACL? Let me like do studies and as a PT I’m like, it does look crazy if I’m telling people to go get surgery and I don’t get surgery. But I was like, let me see. Because I already had a lot of mobility in my knee before. And then as I was going through the prehab, I was like, my knee feels fine. I literally don’t have any pain. I can jump, I can run. What if I just don’t get the surgery? And then I think it’s coming to the acceptance, you need it later on. I’m not going to be young forever. I don’t want to be in a situation where I can’t do something because of my knee. I think accepting that it’s okay, happens to everybody. It’s not like it’s uncurable. And then figuring out a plan that you feel comfortable with going forward. I think taking control of the situation for me was made it easier. And then setting up little goals, like the little wins help a lot. Okay, that first week let’s just focus on these things and getting yourself okay with where you are. Accepting that, it’s like fine. You’re going to be alright. 

Jordan Angeli: Acceptance is so huge. 

Maddie: I agree with what Brandon said. The first week is just like a torture and when you first find out, you’re in disbelief of going back to that. But I would also say a part of hopeless that when I felt hopeless was probably after you get in between the biking to the running because I’m in that right now and it’s all strength training. And I just feel like I’m not getting anywhere. I’m just doing the same exercises over and over and it’s just repetitive. And I’m like, am I even getting stronger? I feel like that’s definitely hard. I had a physical therapy session on Thursday, just to see the growth between the strength training and kind of thing. And seeing that I felt like really made me finally feel like, oh yeah, I am doing something right. 

Jordan Angeli: That part of the process is hard. I would agree with you. Go ahead, Megan. 

Megan: My first ACL tear went misdiagnosed for three months, and I kept on going back to the doctor. I’m like, something’s wrong with my knee. It’s not supposed to move like this. And I was kind of brushed off for a while. But I ended up switching surgeons and I really advocated for myself. And I think that’s a big part of the process. If you feel something’s wrong, you have to speak up and advocate for yourself. 

Jordan Angeli: Yes, you do, I love that. I hate that that happened to you. But I love that you grew from it, that you said, no, this isn’t okay. I’m not okay. Again, you’re the only one that knows your body. And I think both those PTs right here can attest that they probably say that to their clients all the time. And say, “You’re the only one that knows what it feels like.” And you do have to build that trust with your PT and with your doctor. But I’m proud of you, Megan, for sticking up for yourself. 

Megan: Thank you.

Jordan Angeli: Can we talk about the return to sport really quick and the idea of working through that end range. I know Megan or Maddie, you’ve been there; Brendan, you’ve been there as well. How difficult was that for you, or did you feel the PT set you up and you felt comfortable where you were at from PT into integration back into sport? And how did you navigate that? Because it’s not just like, “I’m cleared from PT, I’m playing like a champ again.” It is still part of this whole entire growth. So how was that for you, Maddie, the first time going through that? 

Maddie: The first time I went through many physical therapists, I had the regular clinic type of physical therapist and then I finally found Julie in the end. And I feel like Julie really just helped set you up. Because I think she like talks to you more about the mental side and getting over those hurdles and stuff. And I feel like she integrated me into the back to play very smoothly.

Jordan Angeli: Can you talk specifically to some of those, like how did she talk to you? Because there’s PTs on here right now that are probably like, oh, well, I need to do that. What can I use? What did she say to you that helped you feel like you were overcoming those barriers? 

Maddie: It’s just the praises. And Julie also went to a couple of my games when I first started coming back, like a high school game and stuff. Her complimenting me saying like, oh, you look like an athlete. You look good out there. I just feel like those little comments just like help boost, even though they’re so little. It just helps so much with the confidence. And I feel like confidence is a big human coming back to play. Because you might be ready, but mentally if you’re not, it’s just not the same. You’re more likely to like… what’s the word? Stutter into something and not be a hundred percent sure. And then you’re more likely to hurt yourself again. 

Jordan Angeli: Ravi was smiling with that. Just go to their games, just give them confidence. Brandon, was that a difficult part for you integrating back into sport? Did you feel set up?

Brandon: There’s always that hurdle of actually starting to actually play. You can run around, you can jog around and do warmups with everyone and feel kind of normal. But then actually going into real live contact sport is way different. That’s the one thing that I had a little bit of hesitation with. Because when you’re just moving around, you think about like, oh, I got to flex this leg. I got to really focus on bending it. But when you play, you’re going back to how you thought, like, oh, you’re worried about what’s going on in front of you, instead of worrying about what’s going on with your leg. So finding that trust in your knee again, is a really big thing. And understanding that it’s there and you did all this work. You’ve done nine months on it. You’ve went through everything that it should be ready to go. And if it doesn’t feel ready, just give it a couple of practices.

Jordan Angeli: I think that’s so good. And I’m going to ask Ravi and Christine about that too, how they help. What I found really helpful when I was integrating back into sport, and maybe this is where Ravi and Christine have helped their athletes, is I would go up to one of my teammates and say, “Hey, my first month and a half back, I would pick somebody out and I would say, Hey, Brit, like I just need you.” Every time I made a good pass, I just need you to tell me I made a good pass. Because all I’m thinking about is how I don’t know what I’m doing. And if somebody is telling me that I’m doing something good, I am going to be reminded that I’m doing something good. So it’s an external factor of a reminder that I can say, all right, because how many of us left those first few trainings and we’re like, man, can I really play my sport again? Can I do this? Can I make those decisions on the fly? And I think if you have somebody, and it doesn’t always have to be the same person. But say, every time I go into a 50/50 challenge, yes, Jord, go for it. Just some kind of external encouragement can really help you understand that you are never going to leave a PT session, you’re never going to leave your game, your training -perfect!

Jordan Angeli: You will always make a mistake. And mistakes are good. The mistakes help you grow. And so understanding that, getting back into playing is not going to be like, oh, I’m back. And I know all the decisions to make that are right right now. Just like the PT process, just like learning our sport in the first place. It is a growth process. And to think of it like that I think is really helpful. Ravi and Christine, you guys go and support your athletes when they get back. And what does that mean to you guys as PTs to see them back playing? 

Christine: I think it’s good, especially in the clinic. Sometimes when the patients are in front of you because they know what you’re looking for and you are teaching them like they know how you cue. Put them with someone else who doesn’t know what’s going on. I will put them with an aid, but the aid knows what I’m looking for. I’ll be like, I just watch this. Have them do something and then I’m not going to be watching or I’m watching from the distance. And then they feel less scared, I’m watching. The way you know you’re ready to go back is if you’re not scared. If you’re scared you’re not ready. 

Jordan Angeli: And you’re making instinctual movements. Oh I think Christine is going to do this next. How about you Ravi? 

Christine: They just feel like ready if they feel more confident. It’s like, oh yeah, you did this good or whatever. And then you know, like, okay, you could try some other stuff. 

Ravi Patel: For me, seeing the athlete back on the field or on the court, is probably the most rewarding part of doing my job for being a PT. And you kind of see that whole process. A lot of people don’t see that, but you see that whole process of when they came in and they had surgery or whether they didn’t. And they worked so hard to get back to that return to sport process. And one of the biggest things is connecting the physical to that mental piece. The goal is hopefully they’re going together and the rehab should be preparing them for that. But sometimes the physical comes along and the mental, it takes a little bit of time and especially to that return to sport process.

Ravi Patel: Because as Brendan said, it’s like you can do all these drills. But as soon as you get on the court or on the field, the intensity changes. You’re around your friends, you’re more competitive. All those things change. So that’s where there’s a smooth transition. If not really focusing on time, but let’s say the athlete is hitting those return to play markers of 90% and all those things, then there’s a smooth transition of one-on-one to more open environments, to more reactive-based challenges to integrating to three on three or five on five. It’s being able to slowly ramp up that process, instead of there’s this one day you cross that threshold. And it’s like you return to play is like, no, I should have been on this process all along.

Jordan Angeli: I hope everybody hears that if you’re going through rehab right now. I feel like confidence is built in that return to play process. Everything I do is soccer. My thought goes soccer first. Today, I got to be a part of our warmup drill. Today, I got to go to passing. Now, I get to play a neutral player. Those are small steps that are building the confidence. Because if you’re just thrown back in, you’re not. Nobody’s going to be confident in that because you’re like, I just remember feeling like, “Okay, my brain knows what to do, but my body is not there yet. My body is not quite there.” So that’s a really good point. We have about nine minutes left now. And there is one more question that I really want to get to because I think that it is so powerful. And I hope that we can all get to it. It is, what has been the most rewarding part of recovery for you? We should look at this as a challenge that we can choose. We get to choose what we get out of it. And it’s going to be difficult, but there is going to be a reward, an internal reward, a mental reward, an emotional reward, a physical reward. Is anybody ready to share that right away? Brandon, okay. 

Brandon: I guess one of the things is kind of saying this is one of the toughest things I’ve done in my life is coming back from this thing. And it challenged me in so many different types of ways, like physically, but also mentally. Just being able to come out of that and say, I was at probably one of the lowest points, and then I’m all the way back up to returning to play, and feeling back to my normal self, and not having second thoughts about it. It’s just feeling like a normal person again and feeling like an athlete again and just feeling normal. Because you always feel like you’re one step behind when you’re recovering from these things. You’re always feeling like, I’m so close, but I’m so far at the same time. I guess just feeling normal is one of the most rewarding things.

Jordan Angeli: Do you feel stronger in any way? 

Brandon: I definitely do, both mentally and physically. I feel like I could not do anything, but I tell myself I feel I can do anything. 

Jordan Angeli: Yeah, you can. We believe in you. Megan, where you ready? You want to share yours? 

Megan: I think for me getting back somewhat or almost near full function of my knee has been really rewarding. I couldn’t bend my knee past like 90 degrees for over a year or like straighten as like had 15 degrees off extension. Just being able to have that range of motion. Range of motion, I never thought that that would be something that I’d look forward to in life. Just being able to regain that or being able to lift my leg is the littlest things that you wouldn’t think of that can be the most rewarding. 

Jordan Angeli: Can we all just take a second and acknowledge Megan and how strong she is? Megan, I don’t know, if I would be that strong, I don’t know. But like you nine surgeries, what you went through before surgery, what you went through during it. You, my friend, are very strong, and your perseverance is inspiring. We’ve got a lot of people rooting for you now, so we know you can do this. 

Megan: I appreciate it. 

Maddie: So something that’s been really rewarding for me, I have like the same idea as Brendan. Just the physical and mental side of it. Mentally, I feel like I’ve become a lot stronger and being able to look at the positive things within such a down-low situation. I feel like that’s something that’s very rewarding for me. 

Jordan Angeli: I love that.

Ravi Patel: For me, since mine have been 13 and seven years ago, it’s been interesting. But the thing to everyone’s point here is, what I’ve taken with me throughout life at this point is appreciating the process of it. It’s such a long process and I’ve become more focused on how the process is more important than the outcome. And if you focus on the process itself, the outcome just comes out the way you want it to, usually. And so that’s one of the biggest things. And then just focusing on just getting 1% better every single day. Taking the small wins and strides and it’s applied to so many other aspects of my life. And I remember my first ACL injury, especially was one of the lowest points of my life. I know that if I could have gotten through that, that I can get through the rest of whatever my life is to bring. 

Christine: I would say I definitely agree with that. I think the physical aspect is definitely there. It’s definitely rewarding to see your body like change. But I think it’s nice to just be like in a spot where you have the ability to heal. There’s a lot of things that can go wrong with an ACL.. There’s a lot of things afterwards. You could have your graft fail, you can have other things happen. Some people never regained their mobility back. I think the most rewarding part is just being able to know that I’m healing and it’s going to get better and just being happy with that. If can go back, it’s going to be time, but it’s better than not being able to do anything.

Jordan Angeli: Gratitude that our body knows how to heal inside. That we can get better, that we have the ability to have surgery. All these things, they’re so important to our mindset, to our the mental side. Guys, thanks for sharing all that. I think for me as we start to wrap this up. I don’t know if you can read this, Ravi, but it says the process. Ravi, I’m very obsessed with the process very, very obsessed with it. What I learned is ACL rehab is in microcosm of what life is. Is that things will hit you out of nowhere and they will sweep you off your feet and you will be devastated. And you get to decide, will it define you or will it refine you? And I think that we’re all choosing for it to refine us. Saying, all right, well, I was given this for a reason. I am going to choose growth in this. I am going to choose that I can show up. And sometimes showing up means bawling your eyes out to your PT, because I did that multiple times. Sometimes showing up means sprinting for the first time, kicking the soccer ball, making a three point jump shot, whatever it may be. Sometimes that’s showing up. But knowing that you’re not showing up for anybody else but you, that you can do this, that you can get through this. And I think the trust that we’ve created with- one of the reasons we’re doing this, is to talk to a physical therapists and to people going through the process right now. 

Jordan Angeli: Let’s say like, communication is key, right? That’s something that I take from all of this, what you guys said. Communication helps build the trust. Not only with you and your knee again, but with you and your PT, with you and the people around you. That having what I like to call rad activities, random acts of distraction, having those activities, whether it’s your friends or learning to play the guitar or doing something creative that taps into that endorphin feeling that you get from your sport. These are really important things to do throughout your recovery because it allows you to understand that you can be empowered in this process. It allows you to feel like you have a little bit of control, even though we don’t have control over a lot of things. It gives you tools to help you heal through difficult situations, which we’re all going to face throughout our life.

Jordan Angeli: And I think last year, we used a lot of those tools to help us get through a difficult season. Gosh, you guys, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to Matt for putting this ACL Study Day. Thank you for bringing us all together. I learned so much from each and every one of you, and I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. Two other very good important things that we learned in this process. But really just thanks for participating in this. And I hope everybody watching took as much out of this as I did. Thanks for signing up ACL Study Day and being a part of this. That’s it for us. We’ll see you guys later. Bye guys. 

Ravi Patel: Wow, what an amazing conversation. You get so much insight from different experiences, different age levels, people who are anywhere from right out of surgery to people who are years out. I hope you guys were able to take something away from this conversation. These people really did make themselves vulnerable in this conversation, and it takes a lot. But I think it’s important for everyone who is listening to this podcast and who’s going through this process, understand some of the things that they may have to face and take it from people who have already gone through this process and who have experienced it. Go, show these people some love, their information is in the show notes. They were super awesome. So thanks to you guys who are on this episode. And thank you guys who are listening because this is exactly why we do it. So that’s it for today, everyone. Thank you all so much again for listening. This is your host, Ravi Patel, signing off.

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