A former professional soccer player and now sports broadcaster, Jordan tore her ACL 3 times over her career and had 7 surgeries on her left knee. She created THE ACL CLUB to help inspire, encourage and empower athletes through the triumphs and trials of the ACL recovery journey.
In this episode, I sat down with Jordan and we discussed:
- Her ACL story
- The mental side of her ACL recovery
- Reframing your mindset
- Returning back to professional sports
- The importance of your support system
- Creating The ACL Club
- Advice for someone going through the ACL process
Ravi: Welcome back everyone to the ACL Athlete Podcast today. I’m so excited. We have a special guest, Jordan Angeli. Hey Jordan.
Jordan: Hi Ravi. How are you?
Ravi: I’m good, how are you?
Jordan: Good. I’m pretty impressed. You said my last name corrected. Not a lot of I do. That do.
Ravi: Wow. Wow. I was like debating is it and Jelly. And you probably get that a lot.
Jordan: Yeah, I get and Jelly a lot and I’m like, nope, it’s not, it’s not a jelly sandwich. Um, so Angeli good job. High-five.
Ravi: Yeah. . Well, thanks for being.
Jordan: Thanks for having me.
Ravi: Of course. So Jordan is a previous collegiate athlete and professional soccer player. Uh, she is currently a broadcaster for the Columbus Crew Soccer Club, right?
Jordan: Yeah, correct, yes.
Ravi: All right. And then she’s torn her ACL three times within five years and is the founder of the ACL Club.
Jordan: Perfect. And so that’s me.
Ravi: That’s Jordan. Jordan, thank you so much for being here and welcome to the show.
Jordan: Yeah, I can’t wait to chat and talk all things ACL athlete cuz that’s you, and that’s me, and that’s a lot of people.
Ravi: Oh yeah.
Jordan: Others that are listening and in this country, unfortunately.
Ravi: Oh yeah. So I hope that, uh, the listeners here can take a lot of Jordan’s story that we’re gonna talk about today and use it to their own experiences and as they’re battling through these injuries, or even if you’re a professional, uh, working with this.
So, Jordan first. Do you mind sharing with our audience a little bit about your background?
Jordan: Yeah, my background, as you mentioned with three ACLs, it can get a little lengthy talking about everything that happened, but I’ll, I’ll just give you a little bit of the, the gist of it. So I, um, was a very intense athlete. I was focused on what I wanted and I wanted from a, a very young age to be a professional soccer player. I knew that and I was dedicated to becoming that. And fortunately for me, I, I took some steps in the right direction then really committed myself to, um, earn a scholarship to Santa Clara University, which is, you know, a top five, top 10 soccer school in the United States.
And I was really excited about that, the opportunity to continue to get better because, uh, there’s been multiple professional leagues over my time as an athlete here in the United States. So I always had my eye for that and for the US women’s national team. And so, um, unfortunately during my collegiate time, and fortunately I got to compete at the highest level. I got to play in Final Fours and I got to go and compete with the under 20 women’s national team in Russia at a World Cup, which was super cool. But with all that I was demanding out of my body.
Jordan: My body just slowly started to tell me and try to tell me, um, I need to slow down. Um, but sometimes when you’re an athlete, it’s hard to let your body rest.
Jordan: And I didn’t do a good job at that. And I had this nagging hamstring issue that I think really was the start of why I tore my ACL for the first time. So my junior year I had a non-contact ACL injury. I was just shifting. I was playing defense and shifting from my left to my right
Jordan: And tore my ACL in MCL meniscus. So I did the, the triad there.
Jordan: And then a year later, so I was rehabbing that a year later, not even a year later, I re tore my ACL on another non-contact injury. This time, I think it was a combination, the week before I got in a big tackle and my, it was like my first tackle back from, uh, playing again, which is a big milestone when you’re talking about confidence in the mental side.
Jordan: Is you kind of gotta get into that tackle and it’s scary.
Jordan: But my knee swelled up and I was given some wrong information to play on a swollen knee was okay.
Jordan: And so about five minutes into a scrimmage at less than a year out of my first ACL, I went up for a header and landed and felt my knee shift. And so a different kind of non-contact injury, right? Jumping and landing. Um, and that was really de difficult, really devastating because it happened so quickly after the first one. Um, and I, that took me a while to get back from. I took a year and a half, a little longer to recover from that, that second ACL And –
But continued to play and continued to try to pursue what I believed I still had the ability to pursue. And luckily for me, I was able to be drafted as a professional athlete. In women’s, it was called Women’s Professional Soccer, WPS.
Jordan: And had a great rookie year with the Boston Breakers. And then, uh, the first game of my second year, I was with the full Women’s National team. It was a World Cup year. I was playing really well. I was just named one of the best players in WPS for my rookie season out of all the players. Like it was just a wild thing that that was me.
Ravi: Yeah, that’s huge.
Jordan: And I felt like I was Yeah. Kind of back to me.
Jordan: As we know a lot from people who have gone through ACL, it takes a while to feel like you again.
Jordan: And my first game back, uh, my second year of being a professional, I got tackled and tore my ACL for the third time. So all in the same knee. All on my left knee and I ended up having a total of seven knee surgeries. I had to get my bones grafted.
Jordan: And go through that whole thing. So that’s kind of the gist of like my, my history. I ended up taking three years to rehab from that last one.
Jordan: I didn’t really know if I was gonna be able to play again. I had kind of gave it up to God and said,”If you open a door and that’s what you feel like I can do, then I’m gonna trust you and get after it.” And that happened. I ended up getting drafted into NWSL. I didn’t even put my name in a draft. I don’t know how it happened.
Jordan: And um, pursued playing professionally again. And so that happened three years after my last ACL, and I played for two years and then finally retired.
Ravi: Wow, that’s amazing.
Jordan: Wild. Yeah.
Ravi: Yeah. That’s a, that’s a wild ride. Uh, I feel like one ACL is already enough. It’s just like –
Ravi: – such a long journey. And then you a, you know, three times that, and especially at the higher level, right?
Ravi: Um, and so, for you, what was the biggest differences that you noticed between one, two, and three?
Jordan: Right. Well, I think, Ravi, you can relate to this too, it’s, it doesn’t matter what level you’re at when you tear your ACL, it devastates you.
Jordan: It, it’s really difficult because, especially with athletes who are committed to their sport or are dedicated to getting better at whatever they’re training at, um, so much of your, what we feel like is our identity, especially when we’re younger, is wrapped up in being this athlete.
Jordan: And our friends are our teammates and our social time is before training and after training, you know, we get our adrenaline from our, our practices and that feeds our bodies and makes us happy.
So it’s just like, there’s so many things that get taken away from you that I think is difficult to, um, you know, it’s hard when you’re a high school athlete and it’s hard when you’re a professional athlete because, you know, those, those same things we’re, we’re all human and we go through those same difficult barriers.
So I think for me personally, when I, when I talk about the, the three different ACLs and what was most difficult, I think the first one is, was hard for me because you don’t really know what to expect.
Jordan: And, you as an athlete have learned this equation over time, that like if you work harder at things, you see results.
Jordan: And that doesn’t really happen all the time when you’re rehabbing from an ACL,
Jordan: You can work really, really hard and put all the work in, and your knee can be like, oh, I wanna be swollen today. So I’m not gonna let you do anything. Or, oh, I’m, I’m gonna hurt when you do this step up. So, You know, and, and you are like racking your brain about what, what you did and what you ate and how you slept, and it’s like this huge mental thing. So I think the first one is just I didn’t really know what to expect, and I don’t know if you get that with the athletes that you’ve worked with, but at least on the second one, I knew what to expect and I could, I think, manage those emotions a little bit better. I also saw a sports psychologist, uh, um, that worked at Santa Clara, so that helped me with the mental side. Um, but then the third one, I was like really broken and I just needed to be like, I’ve had enough for a while and I needed to not think about my knee. I don’t need to think about rehabbing. You know, it’s just, it’s so hard and I think having that balance of knowing how to say, all right, it is okay to rest and it is okay to take a week off. Whoa, I took a week off. Like, that really helped me mentally and physically sometimes too.
Ravi: Yeah, I feel like the, the difficulty of the injury is so relative to each person.
Ravi: And so, like you said, like, whether you’re a professional athlete or whether you’re a high school athlete, you know, this is some sort of, this is an identity for you, right?
Ravi: Like, I remember whenever I tore my firstACL, I had to sit the sidelines for my entire junior year of sports and it was just devastating,
Ravi: And, like, even as simple as something as like winning a game, you felt like you weren’t really as a part of it.
Ravi: You know, like is, it is just like very difficult cuz you’re just like standing there and it’s tough but you want to be a part of it as well.
Ravi: So anyways, there’s like a very – go ahead.
Jordan: Can I just mention something with that and I think it’s really important for people listening who are going through the ACL rehab?
Jordan: Is to understand like that feeling that you had on the sideline and wanting to be a part of it, but also feeling, uh, disappointed or hurt or, um, just probably pissed off that you weren’t a part of it.
Ravi: For sure.
Jordan: It’s okay to say, “I’m gonna go to training today and I’m not gonna go tomorrow.”
Jordan: Because I wanna be a part of it with my team. But also if I, if I wake up the next day and, like, thinking about going to training or going to a game really makes me feel that sadness and that’s really heavy, it’s your journey. This is your life.
Jordan: Like, don’t absolutely push yourself in a direction that doesn’t serve you. Your team wants you to be happy and they want you to be a part of it if you wanna be a part of it.
Jordan: But just like you don’t know how to deal with it, they don’t really know how to deal a lot of the times with an athlete who is injured and not participating. So you might feel like they don’t care, but they might not know how to support you.
Jordan: And so I think you speaking up as that person who is going through the injury and saying, “Hey guys, like, I wanna be at training, but this is, these are the different emotions that I feel sometimes I feel really happy to be here and included and, and like, I’m still a part of it, but sometimes I feel really sad. And so I just want you to know, if I don’t come, it’s not because I don’t love you and I don’t wanna be a part of this. It’s because I’m struggling. And I’m trying to figure out how I should navigate this.”
Ravi: Yeah. That’s such a, that’s such an important point because everyone processes it so differently. And it is, it’s not like, oh, showing up automatically is going to do that one-to-one of: oh, this is going to reignite everything. Sometimes distancing yourself is the healthiest thing whenever it’s, it’s hard for you to be there and be present. So I like, I like that point, and that’s something that’s important for athletes who are listening to know, is that you can decide, okay, I’m gonna go to practice today and maybe like take some time away if that is something that’s tough to deal with.
Ravi: So, we have a question from, uh, one of my good friends, Steph Allen.
Ravi: And so she wanted to know how were you able to reframe your mindset through all of the ups and downs that you faced through all that.
Jordan: Yeah. Good question, Steph, because I think that is something… reframing our mindset is something that we work on daily. You know, it’s not, it’s not just with an injury, right? It’s how we talk to ourself. It’s if we think we’re good enough or we’re not good enough. It’s everything. And so just recognizing, I think first and foremost, you have to slow down to understand what the thoughts are that you’re really having and where those thoughts originate from.
So for me, I think. The first time I got injured, I remember feeling like I was broken. Like I, like I was so mad at my body for not doing what it should have done. And I felt like I was broken. And I was like, okay, well why is that? Like, could you have done anything better or worse? And so it was going to the, the root of that problem of like, what, okay, if you feel broken, why do you feel broken?
And to me it was because I didn’t listen to my body. Because I didn’t recognize the signs that it was saying, “Hey, you’ve just played a hundred games of soccer in 10 months. You need to chill.” Like, literally my body was telling me to chill and I wasn’t listening. And I think that was the, the root cause of me feeling broken is like I, I had a disconnection between what I wanted and how I was acting.
Jordan: And so once I recognized that, then I could refocus on, okay, well what can I, can I control? What can I do to help me feel like I’m not broken anymore, is okay, I can listen to my body better. If the rehab, if I need rest, if I, if I go to PT and I am… Because you’re a physical therapist, Ravi, you’ve probably had people come in that just, you can tell, like, they have nothing in them to give that day.
Ravi: Right, right.
Jordan: And, like, tears are in their eyes and they’re just like, this is so hard. Recognizing that those days are gonna come and saying, okay, I’m listening to myself and giving myself a little bit of grace to be, like, maybe the best thing for me to heal is to listen and say I need to rest.
Ravi: Yeah. That’s so huge. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have had an athlete come into my office, and it’s just not happening that day.
Ravi: You could just tell based on the way that they walk in or, you know, that you could just tell it’s a different energy. And so then you start kind of diving. At first they’re like, oh, it’s fine, whatever. Like, let’s go ahead and do it, and then you start asking more questions. And then you start to realize, okay, there’s something deeper going on.
Ravi: And I think what is so important here for, as an athlete dealing with this, you want to make sure that you find the support system and you’re making sure that you’re communicating this with the physical therapist you’re working with, with the athletic trainer, whoever it is that you’re working with, making sure that you create that space and be open to talking to them.
Ravi: Because sometimes it’s so easy because ACL rehab is so long.
Jordan: Yeah. It’s so long.
Ravi: It’s not this like, okay, I broke a bone and I’ll get back in, you know, one to two months. It’s anywhere from a nine to 12 month process. So it’s easy to just get really burned out from that process, especially when there’s so many different setbacks and just things along the way.
Ravi: That’s where creating that support system and especially being able to talk to the physical therapist or whoever you’re working for, and creating that conversation.
Ravi: Because there are so many times where I’ve spent an entire session where we’ve just talked and we’re just talked, and you just let ’em, like, let ’em just blurt out all the frustrations, how pissed they are, how unfair it is, and I think that that is so important for these athletes.
Jordan: Mm-hmm. , oh, it’s so important. Like, that’s why my physical therapist that I worked with for every rehab at different stages. Like, he’s still one of the guys that I trust the most is because he knows me. The vulnerable me, not the, “I am a hardcore athlete.” me, the what my fears are, what I’m scared of, what I’m pissed about, all those things. And he could read it and let me express myself. And so I think for Steph’s question is how do you reframe your mind into figuring out how you could get through this. Well, I think you have to recognize when you don’t have to push, but I think you have to understand that you as a human are capable of such great things. And for me, the disappointment of the injury never, um, surpassed my belief in myself.
Jordan: And so I would just tell people to, to continue to focus on like what you believe is true about yourself. Like, do you believe that, um, you are strong and, like, I, I remember coming back from my first ACL I had, uh, I had an acronym on my, that I’d write on like a piece of tape.
Jordan: And one of the letters was S cuz I was like, you’re strong. Like, you are strong. You’re not, you’re not broken because your body broke. You are strong because you got through it. And so I think that that’s what I kept re refocusing on was my, my strength to continue to choose myself. Whether that was rest or whether that was pushing. And that is strength. It’s strength to understand who you are and what the timing is to… that it’s not a timeline, but it’s a journey. That you have to kind of just feel out the process.
Ravi: Yeah. No, that’s, that’s super powerful and I think, you know, one of the things that you had mentioned is being able to control what you can control.
Ravi: It’s just such a huge mindset to be able, and that’s what I talk with with a lot of my athletes. It’s, you know, you can’t necessarily always control your knee getting swollen, swollen up, but, like, you can control, you know, what you can do going forward and creating a game plan. And then also, uh, being able to make sure, you know, you have this like positive mindset as you’re going towards these things. Um, so anyways, I think that that’s huge.
Jordan: And, and I’m sure you know this, but our, our brains are actually wired as a mechanism to survive. Yeah. To think negatively first. Like we’re always trying to survive. Um, and so that’s why it is, it is difficult and people say you have to have a positive mindset. It, it’s a, it is a commitment to think positively. And if you can figure out if you could slow down and listen to how you speak to yourself in certain ways, then you can understand how your thoughts are kind of coming into your head naturally. And not to say like, oh, I can’t think that way, but then there’s the reframing, right?
Okay. I thought this, I thought this. Like, um, I don’t know if I can, I can do this next exercise. So maybe that’s the thought that you have in your brain and maybe you hear that thought and you go, I’m gonna try and see if I can do this next exercise.
Jordan: And that’s just a positive spin on it, right? You’re, you’re, the outcome is the same. You might have a little bit of hesitancy about what’s coming up next, but you’re, you’re willing to try. And I think that even that, or even telling yourself, I can do this.
Jordan: Or I’m gonna do my best at this next exercise and see where it goes. It’s a small thing, but I, I really do think slowing down and recognizing how we speak to ourselves is the standard of how we start to then think positively.
Ravi: Yeah. And if we can just stack these small little wins or these little moments, like even you saying the next exercise, right?
Ravi: Like get through the, like taking it day by day. As simple as that seems, it really does help from that framing. Instead of thinking, oh man, this is such a long process and I got so much to go. Like, taking it day by day is something that can help really reframe this mindset. So I think that’s huge.
Jordan: Because everybody’s scared to get back to sport when they’re two days out of surgery.
Jordan: Because your body’s like, I can’t do that. Like, why would I think to go back to sport right now? Like, you’re so fearful of what is in the future.
Jordan: But you can’t control that until you control the now. So it’s just focusing on, okay, how do I rest, elevate, you know, do the things that you can do, especially in those early stages of rehab in order to feel as comfortable as you can and, and really, relishing the present is the only way you’re gonna get back to the field.
Ravi: Right, right.
Jordan: The court, whatever it is you are doing.
Ravi: Yeah. So, uh, with your injuries, and how did you feel, like, in terms of like getting ready for sport and returning back on the field and your confidence? Cuz something that I see a lot, uh, with a lot of the athletes that I either talk to or work with, , there’s a lot of hesitation and especially if they didn’t have very good rehab initially. It’s just like that later half of, of returning to sport. So for you, with your experience, how was it like trying to get back to sport and getting over that fear of re-injury?
Jordan: It’s funny, I don’t remember it as much my first two times. And I don’t know if that’s just whhat your body does and your brain does to stay, stay in the moment.
It’s kind of like, I don’t wanna compare it to this because it’s not comparable at all, but like when women give birth, a lot of the times they, they forget about what it was like. Because when you, when you’re pregnant again, because your, your body is just like, I, we can do this. Like, I can do this.
And so I don’t, I don’t really remember what the fears were that I had, but I know that I was nervous to get back to sport. And I think you’re nervous because, you know, one of the things I dealt with with my first – gosh, I think with all of ’em, it’s like a little bit of PTSD where I actually would just, like, I remember driving my car and just not doing anything and I would have that feeling of like my knee shifting.
And so it was like that feeling was so close to it just had happened that it was still very present in my, my life.
Jordan: And I think that, that, that made me nervous because I could still feel that. And I, it wasn’t as if my knee was actually doing that. It was like a little bit of this, this trauma that was kind of lingering around with me. I was carrying it in a suitcase and it was just hanging out during the car rides or whatever, you know. So I think when we have a, a type of trauma, especially a physical trauma, and you’re feeling the repercussions of, it is normal to feel afraid and fearful of returning to sport. And, um, the thing that helped me get through it was easing back into it, like taking small steps and even in PT, knowing that my physical therapist would incorporate for me a soccer ball into even balanced skills where I could at least volley the ball back.
And so I could along the way start feeling that my knee and my body were capable of performing those movements again. So then when I did get back to passing or juggling or, um, then eventually cutting and playing, it wasn’t as if it was just like, okay, let’s go. Doing everything at once. It was small little things.
So then you start to build up confidence without almost, sometimes even recognizing you’re doing it, um, that really helps. And I always, you know, I think the scariest part for me, and I don’t know about you, is taking these athletes from when they feel clear, like when they’re cleared from their surgeon to actual integration back into sports, because I hope people know that being cleared doesn’t mean like, all right, go play a hundred percent at what you’re doing.
Ravi: No, no, no. It is not that. That’s one of the, probably the biggest issues with just current ACL landscape of…
Jordan: That’s a whole nother podcast, right?
Ravi: That’s a whole nother podcast.
Jordan: We can’t talk about.
Ravi: But anyways, so like that’s the thing, it’s not this magical day where you just, like, show up and you’re cleared and then all of a sudden it’s like go step on the field. Uh, it is this very gradual process that happens. And I think, you know, from what you’ve described is, you know, it was a very step-by-step approach. And then like, you slowly were exposed to just different things and then that helped you to get more comfortable back on the field.
Jordan: Right. And I did mention that, that first tackle the, in my first recovery, I remember that first tackle that I had and it, um, not, you know, I remember the outcome of the tackle, but I also remember not being scared to go into the tackle. And that’s important because, because I think as I had gotten to a place where I was confident in where I was at, at least from the mental side and and the physical side as well, that I was ready to do that. And if you don’t feel ready to do that, that’s okay. Just play non-contact as long as you have to, if anything, just until you feel like you can get to that place where you’re playing without thinking about those things.
Jordan: Actively thinking about them.
Ravi: Right. You wanna make sure that when you step onto – it’s okay to have some of these fears, it’s normal and yeah, the, an entire process, and I even remember my first game coming back from my first ACL tear. I was pretty nervous. Like the nerves were high and everything, but I still, like, I know I was confident in my body to do what it needed to do. Um, so those are things to just kind of keep in mind whenever you’re going through this process and making sure that these exposures that you have will help you to get back on the field. And it’s not just this magical six month exactly. Like, okay, you’re good to go, now go run, jump, cut, tackle all these different things, so, um, I think that that is huge.
So, Jordan, for you, with all these experiences, how important was community and your support system? .
Jordan: Huge, huge, huge, huge, huge. I can’t say it enough. And I always, uh, I always tell people that are going through this process that you have to build your team. This is your new team. And they’re gonna be your team, not only for probably, hopefully longer than six months, but six to 12 months. But they’re gonna be your team probably for a lot longer because of what you go through in this process. And so I, and when I say team, I am saying, you’re orthopedic surgeon, you’re PT, maybe your athletic trainer, if you’re at a college or at a club that might have an athletic trainer, uh, your parents, your friends, uh, your significant other. Everybody has to understand or you have to be willing to be vulnerable with those people in order for them to understand what it is like for you to go through this process. Because you said it, Ravi. This is different for every single person.
The best thing you can do is enhance your communication with every person. And I mentioned that with what you do, what you do, and you say to your team, but it’s also how you talk to your coach. “Hey coach, like I’m gonna need this from you, from this process, or I’m at this stage, or whatever it is.” Enhancing communication and building your team and your community that is gigantic, especially from that immediate group. And then, um, connecting with someone who’s been through it before. I think that’s always really important is there is a bond that happens when you, like when I see somebody with a scar on the front of their knee, oh yeah. I just know that, right?
Jordan: Yeah. I remember when I was rehabbing, being at 24 Hour Fitness and seeing someone in one of the sections with the knee scar. I just walk up to ’em and be like, “Oh, you tore your ACL?” Like blah, blah. Just like have a conversation with them because, or just smiling at them like, I see that knee scar. Yeah. Uh, you, you know that they’ve gone through something and they’ve come out the other side. Like, that’s why I think scars are so cool and these scars really unite us. So I think finding someone who has gone through the process or is going through the process so you can share is really important.
Also, the understanding of being vulnerable is not, and sharing is not complaining. I think as athletes, a lot of the time when we go through something difficult like, and say it’s a really hard training session or fitness and like someone’s complaining about something because it was hard, you just are like, get annoyed with them.
Jordan: And so then I think that mindset actually sticks through to an injury cover. A big one like this with ACL is, uh, you feel like if you tell people how you feel or like things aren’t going well, or like you’re really bummed or frustrated about where you are in the process, they’re just gonna be like, ugh, like she’s complaining about, or he’s complaining about what he’s going through.
Jordan: And it’s not like you’re not complaining. You’re just frustrated and you need to voice through those opinions. And, um, finding somebody that you can voice those opinions to is really important. And, and sometimes that’s you, right?
Jordan: That’s the PT who gets a lot of those things. But, um, it, it is hard to navigate this process. If you do it alone and you need people around you, you absolutely do.
Ravi: The people around you is so important. I even remember going through mine, having my brother help me with this process. As simple as, like, you know, like getting in the car or like the bathtub or something. Or like my parents.
Ravi: Uh, to even like teammates being able to vent to them, you know?
Ravi: Your best friends or whoever it is. Like all those things play a role. And as you had mentioned, you know, if, if it is, you know, quote unquote complaining or talking about it, some people will say, this is a sign of weakness, or, but it’s not, you know, it’s like, it’s the context of what you’re dealing with and it’s something that you’re feeling, so I don’t think that there should ever be any type of like, shame with that.
Jordan: Yeah. And I think there’s a real empowerment aspect to voicing how you feel. Mm-hmm. and even prefacing it, like with the ACL Club, we have some resources of how to talk to different people in your life, whether it’s parents or teammates or coaches or whatever. Uh, just to say, “Hey, coach, like I just, I’m feeling a lot of things with my. I wanna tell you what’s going on. Um, but I also don’t want to, like, I, I hope that you understand that I’m frustrated and I’m not complaining. I’m just frustrated. And so I just need to voice that.” And I think sometimes prefacing whether that conversation with a teammate or a friend and just saying, like, “I just really need to get this off my chest, and I don’t need you to give me an answer, or, I don’t need you to solve this problem.” I Right. You release that from those people and you say, “I am frustrated and need to voice that and just kind of let it go.”
Jordan: I think that makes people understand that they don’t have to solve the issue, cuz it’s not really solvable. Sometimes it’s just like they’re there and they listen and they’re like, yeah, I get it.
Ravi: Sometimes you just need an ear. You just need someone to ear out. Um, yeah, and being on the same page. So this is something that’s huge that I see with the surgeons that I work with, or the parents or the coaches. definitely at the center of all this as the athlete, but making sure that everyone’s on the same page, as Jordan’s talking about, you know, making sure that you communicate to all these people and being open about that, about how you feel and what’s going on is going to be so crucial to this process, that way they can support you along the way.
Jordan: Well, these people, there’s, they don’t have a perspective of what it’s like going through it. And so by CU communicating, you are giving them a new perspective. You are showing them your perspective and you’re opening up a conversation for them to then say their perspective as well. So it, when you talk about this ACL rehab, this is a growth process, not only of what you learn about your body physically, but man, you are gonna be a more well-rounded person if you really latch onto the things that you can get better at in this process. And communication is like very high up there on the list.
Ravi: Right. Yeah. And I even remember, like for me, there weren’t many things that were like so difficult with sports and, you know, I loved those, but then the first real tragedy that I would say I had in my life that I can remember was that ACL experience, cuz you just get taken away from your sport.
Ravi: You know, so, uh, it ends up – you know, you learn how to overcome adversity. And then also as you had mentioned, like communication and all these different aspects as you as a human start to grow, um, in and through the process.
Jordan: Yeah. Exactly.
Ravi: So, uh, Jordan. I want to ask about the ACL Club. So with us talking about community, uh, what is the ACL Club and, you know, why, why’d you make it?
Jordan: The a ACL Club is a community just created to empower, inspire, and motivate. people going through the ACL rehab and it’s really about, like, the trials and the triumphs, that there’s gonna be both and that we can celebrate them and we can help each other through them.
So I created it, I started in 2015 and I was, uh, on that still playing professionally, but at this place where I could, I could tell my, my mentality as an athlete wasn’t all the way where it used to be. And that my life as a professional wasn’t gonna continue forever. And so I started thinking about like, how can I use what I’ve learned to go to the, like to be ready for what’s next?
And so that’s kind of where broadcasting came into be, but also the ACL Club, because I couldn’t tell you how many coaches, friends, teammates, would connect me with somebody who was going well, had just torn their ACL. I started recognizing, you know, this was not just in 2015, this was before I started it.
Uh, I started recognizing that my conversations with all these people, I was mentioning kind of the same things, and I was like, it would, it would be nice just to have a place where people could go, a website, a community online where they could go and get these resources and feel like they are a part of a club that is bigger than their specific sport. That is bigger than their country. I, I, you know, my first thought when I created the club was like, this is the biggest club in sports because it is both – it is, you know – throughout the world, people tear their ACL. Like right now I have members in India. There’s a person I know in India that talks to us all the time. You know, there’s someone in Southern California. It’s, it just transcends what we think of like a sport or a club. And I just think that one of the things is I want to make those people feel like they are understood that they can do this and that they will do this, and that they’re supported through the whole process.
So that’s kind of how it originated.
Ravi: Yeah. And you know, with the support aspect of this like Instagram page, which is really awesome, you get to see like people reposting stuff and then just going on the page and commenting whether you guys ask a question. It’s really cool to just see people from different backgrounds come in.
Ravi: And they, they share their story openly. They’re like, here’s this Instagram page. But it’s incredible the community that the ACL Club has created where people just feel open and connected to people all the way on the other side of the world.
Jordan: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And that’s the point, right? Is that just like I mentioned, the scars connect us our stories. Stories are the great connector that, you know, when we watch, I always think of this as an example. When we watch the Olympics in whether it’s summer or the Winter Olympics, you hear those stories that they tell about an athlete from, it doesn’t matter where they’re from. And you’re like, I’m rooting for that person now.
Jordan: And I just felt like, as I personally was helping all these people before I started theACL Club and I was telling my story, I felt like I was finding more strength in telling in myself and saying, “Wow. I can’t believe I overcome all, overcame all that.” And so I, I tried to separate what I had originally thought of sharing my story, it made me feel weak and like I was gonna jinx it, and I, I flipped that on its head to say, “Sharing my story. It makes me strong.”
Jordan: Makes other people strong, and I want them to feel that too. And so that’s why I say show your scars and share your strength, because I feel like through the storytelling aspect, we are sharing our strength, which is not only helping somebody else, but I think when we say what hap- what we’ve gone through, we actually can put it into a perspective where we’re like, wow, like, I do not believe I overcame that and I’m so proud of myself. And it’s okay to be proud of yourself. And it’s good to be proud of yourself. And so I, I just, I love when that you say that as an outsider about the ACL Club because I see that and I get some incredible stories and DMs and emails from people that are a part of it, or their parents or their club teammates or whatever it is, and just, it is so cool to see how impactful the community, you know, it’s not me, it’s the community who, who, what it is, what it, what it’s really about, and just how they support one another is it’s quite remarkable and really something I am so proud of them for.
Ravi: Yeah. Uh, and when you share your story or someone else shares their story, it also just opens it up to empower other people to share their own story, so a lot of times in this journey, you know, people can feel alone, even, you know, the support system that they have. So being able to express your story and so hearing other people allows you to just really voice your own story, which is just incredibly powerful. So I think the ACL Club and what you’re doing with the ACL Club is just, ever since I first like, stepped onto the page and just went through it, I was like, oh my God, this is incredible. It’s just really cool story.
Jordan: Thank you. Thank you
Ravi: So as we’re, as we’re wrapping up, uh, Jordan, uh, if there’s someone who has just injured their ACL, and is going through the recovery process right now, what would you say to them?
Jordan: I would say you are more than capable of getting through this. Keep believing in yourself, and I would recommend to you, if you’re listening right now, to do a couple of things: grab a journal, write things down. If you don’t have someone to tell those emotions to the best thing you can do, journaling is one of the most powerful things because it’s just a release of everything in your head. And it doesn’t matter who you are. It is helpful. There’s so many studies on. But also with the ACL Club, we have a really great recovery course. That’s all on the mental side. And I would recommend that. I would say if you, it doesn’t have to be that, if you wanna use the process, which is our recovery course, use the process.
But you need to find what works for you on the mental side, because if you’re ignoring that, you’re ignoring half the recovery. Half the recovery, and I truly believe that you are more than capable of getting through. But I want you to get through it and be a better version of yourself. Both, both physically, mentally, and even emotionally.
And I think that you can do that if you really sit down and address all the different sides of the, the recovery.
Ravi: Wow, that’s incredible. Uh, so there you guys have it. So focusing on half the battle of the mental side as well as the other half of the physical side, whether that’s journaling, find whatever fits best for you. The ACL Club has this, uh, process that you guys can find out more about. Uh, Jordan, so where can people find out more about you and how they can keep up with you online?
Jordan: Yeah, you can follow, so I would recommend following the ACL Club, if you’re on Instagram, it’s just at the ACL Club, or you can go to our website. uh, we have, that’s where the process is. It’s on our website. It’s just theaclclub.com. So there’s a lot of different info and resources there that. You can get linked up with as long, as well as a blog of like other people’s stories in a different type of medium, right? So, um, yeah, we’ve got a, a bunch of different things and a, a podcast too where we do just that, share people’s stories and it’s called Show Your Scars.
So there’s three different things. You can go to Instagram, the website or Show Your Scars Podcast, but. , um, I’m sure Ravi, if people are following you, they know maybe a little bit about the ACL Club, too, because we’re very like-minded. We have the same heart of not only helping these athletes become a better version of themselves through this process, but also doing whatever we can to help educate and help people maybe not join the ACL Club and maybe not have to go to you to PT, right?. .
Ravi: Right, exactly. That’s the main goal. Yeah. That’s the main goal. But if ha- you happen to deal with it, these are-
Jordan: Yeah, we’re here, right?
Ravi: We’re here for you. So, uh, Jordan, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Jordan: Yeah, thank you.
Ravi: So we’ll have all of Jordan’s information in the show notes below. Uh, so please go show her and the ACL Club some love. So that will be it for today, everyone. Thank you all so much for listening to the ACL Athlete Podcast.
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