Episode 57 | Athlete Wins 2.0

Show Notes:

In this episode, we highlight a 3x ACL athlete win. We discuss her journey as an athlete who has gone through the ACL process THREE times as well as what she was able to get back to recently.

What’s up guys, and welcome back to another episode on the ACL Athlete Podcast. This is me doing take two of this episode because I listened to it and it was not off par, very staticky, and not sure why. You’re probably thinking, Ravi, you should have checked that before you did it. And here we are still learning a year in. But you know what? I care about you guys and I want you to have good sound quality so we’re doing round two. That is not why this is 2.0, but this is the Athlete Wins 2.0 episode. 

If you remember from the start of this podcast, if you’re there with me, we did an Athlete Wins where I highlighted one of my athletes. He’s a basketball player, and he got to play in his game and it thrilled me. But to see the look on his face and just draining three after three was incredible, and it was just this cool story. I’m going to share another story today because I think that this is something that can resonate with a lot of you who are going through this process. And let’s just face it – in a world where news can be kind of negative or you hear all these horror stories. Let’s kind of throw some light here and some positivity because there can be light at the end of the tunnel no matter what your process is, and as long as you’ve got the right game plan.

Let me introduce to you, Karen, who has been one of my ACL athletes. And she is someone who has worked super hard in this process. She has had a long history of ACLs and she is actually a PT herself. And so she’s treated ACLs. She knows what this can typically look like. But this was something that she wanted to outsource. We worked together and I was her coach remotely, to guide her through this process. And she’s got a really interesting story. This is actually not her first ACL tear. Let me take you through a little bit of history. She tore her first ACL on her left side in 2005, and she got a patellar tendon graft done for herself. And then she tore it again in 2007, and she had a cadaver graft done then. And then she had a hardware removal and bone graft in 2016, where she tore her ACL again. And then she went without for a long time and then decided to have ACL surgery again this time last year – left ACL all the same knee. She has had three ACL reconstructions and that is a lot on one knee especially. But we know people who have done that. And I know there are a lot of you out there who have had it once, or twice. It might be two different knees. I’ve had one on each knee. And Karen has had it all on one knee. And so she had her surgery on February 22, 2021. And so she has gone through the entire process for an entire year. She had a cadaver done. She had a meniscectomy at the time. This is something that she knew she would be up against the wall because it was not her first time. They went in and they had to reconstruct the knee multiple times.  

Just for you guys to know that when you have multiple surgeries, it’s not always this smooth process every single time, and the need does adapt over time. It can make it a little more difficult each and every surgery you have after that. Not always the case, but we can kind of see this trend. And obviously, other factors like the injury itself, how old you are, the actual damage done and all of these different factors will play a big role. But the more surgeries you have, the more difficulty there can be. And so Karen has had a long history of this, three different times. And so she’s had the surgery. So then we were trying to make sure we hammered the basics. We don’t rush too far and too quickly. And we want to make sure we take it relatively slow to make sure that we set the foundation.

She gets her proper range back, and to make sure that she feels strong and comfortable. Don’t rush the running too quickly. And make sure that the knee is tolerating the stressors that we’re putting on it. She’s gone through this entire process for the past year and she set a goal of going to ski on February 18th of this year, which was a couple of weeks ago, which is really crazy, right? And so that’s a whole year, given the time, getting prepared and she made it. She went out, and she skied. She said that her knee felt exactly the same as it did on the other side, which is always such a big goal that we want to feel. And it was awesome to see. She passed all the testing, she did all the training, and this last phase of testing as well as performance and rehab stuff we did. We wanted to make sure that she was prepared for the demands of skiing, as well as feeling more single-leg strength, more power, more ability to change direction. We worked on a lot of these qualities and reactivity. And she is now skiing, she’s a hundred percent, she’s cleared so she can rock and roll and do whatever she needs to do.

And my point of coming on here and telling you guys about this athlete win is because, I think it’s important to share examples of not just this 14-year-old who had great healing, had the ACL injury, and then recovered and is a hundred percent. This is someone who’s older, who has had a lot of trauma, you could say to the knee, and a lot of runs of trying to get this ACL right and getting this stability, and she’s still working hard and she’s able to get back to a sport like skiing. This is still an option for someone who even has three ACL tears. Just know that this is something that can be done and can be come back from. But each time it happens, we have to be even more strategic with the game plan the programming and the coaching to make sure that it is very much carved out and it’s very agile as the process goes on. Because this wasn’t exactly fluid, we had times where we might’ve progressed a little bit and the knee kind of acted up and got grumpy. Or maybe we had to adjust some positions because the knee didn’t like it at that specific time. And so then what we do is we adapt the program and then we introduce it and make sure that we can test for it, to make sure that we are making progress and building towards these specific sports and these specific activities.

And in this case for Karen, she really wanted to go skiing on February 18th, and we made it happen. She made it happen. I just gave her of the framework here and the guidance and she put in all the work. And this is after three ACLs. The big takeaway here is that, I promise guys, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Keep your head down, keep working. There are a lot of stories like this that I hear and am fortunate to be a part of. And people make it. And it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Karen’s definitely had some hard times during this process and you can ask her now. Between 2005, all the way up until now, it has probably felt like such a long journey. There were a lot of times when she wanted to quit, and she didn’t. She kept working hard. She knew that there was a plan in place and she kept trusting that she was going to get there, and she has worked really diligently and has gotten there. Just know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, guys, that you can have a success story. 

And sometimes that might also mean pivoting and finding a different option than what you have been on. Sometimes I know a lot of people can get frustrated because maybe they’re not making the progress that they want or they’re not getting the attention, or they feel like they’re getting what Bertha’s getting in the corner who’s like 80 years old. It’s very frustrating. So that’s where this process needs to be individualized and it needs to have a specific program in place to make sure it’s addressing your specific constraints and issues and getting you back to the specific goals. The program needs to look different for someone who’s going to ski versus soccer versus football versus going to play with their kids. These are all going to look different and it needs to be addressed and built out in that specific way.  

Shout out to Karen because this is not an easy task. And any of you ACL athletes listening, you guys know that this is not easy, whether it’s your first, second, or third, I even know some athletes going through their fourth process and it’s not easy. No matter how many times, it can almost be argued it’s more difficult the more times you go on. With that said, There’s light at the end of the tunnel, make sure you have a plan in place, make sure you have a guide, and make sure that you just keep your head up, focus on the wins, focus on the next step, and then forget about the rest. So that’s it for today, guys. Just want to come on here, share the story, share some positive light in the ACL rehab, and return to the sports world that these things are possible. They’re not this magical rainbow with a pot of gold at the end. I promise you can get there, so keep working hard. 

Before I sign off, I just wanted to say that as this episode comes out, it will be the ACL athletes one one-year anniversary as a company working with remote and in-person athletes. And what an incredible journey the past year has been. This podcast has just come up once a year, and then we kickstarted the ACL Athlete. Being able to really focus and work with athletes from anywhere to make sure that we’re able to bridge the gap between wherever your current rehab sits and wherever you want to be, and making sure that you are no longer just operating blindly, that you have a guide and that you have a coach, and you have a specific game plan and a GPS to help get you there. 

Thank you guys so much for the support and this podcast has been such a big piece of it. To every single one of you, thank you for spending your time with us and pouring into this company, into this podcast, and into this vision. And we are so excited for this year and so many more ahead. If you are someone who needs help, if you are someone who needs some guidance, maybe it’s something where you’re like, I’m just so lost and confused, then please reach out. Information is in the show notes. 

Send us an email, hop on Instagram, send us a message, something to connect so that way you at least have your next step and that you can also see that light at the end of the tunnel, as well. And that’s the goal. But that is going to be it for today, guys. Thank you all so much again. This is your host, Ravi Patel, signing off.

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