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July 08, 2016

Twist and Pop

January 13, 2016 - I've a week of hard-work under my belt at this point and starting to feel good again after the holiday break. My local men's soccer team's winter league is starting up again tonight and I'm itching to get back on the field. We have a league of 4 teams within our club that plays once a week as a way to incorporate new things from training into game like situations and also to maintain fitness over the snowy months here in Newfoundland. The club (Feildian's Athletic Association) fields one Premier Men's squad that competes in the Newfoundland & Labrador Soccer Association Challenge Cup League, which sends its annual winner to Canadian Soccer Association National Championships.
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The team is playing well and we've taken the lead into the 2nd half. I'm feeling back to normal and full of energy on the field, something that had been dwindling towards the later end of 2015, even scoring one of our two goals. Great. Hard-work and defending have always been things I pride myself on, any sort of offensive output of box-to-box work as a midfielder was secondary but over the years has become more and more a part of my game - you learn how to better play your position with maturity and experience, something that transcends all team sports. Tracking back and making a tackle, routine stuff, but as the opposing player made his turn this time, his body took my right leg with him and pulled hard and far enough to create a "pop". I landed in pain and instantly knew this wasn't good. A few screams later and I caught myself losing my breath - I knew I had to focus on levelling that before anything else - done. Now the questions - teammates asking am I alright, can I get up, what happened - the main thing is, I can't feel my leg and my knee is locked into one position, about a 120 degree bend so midway between straight out and bent at a 90.
With some help I make it to the bench and the swelling is instantaneous - I can't weight bare at all and this is a pain I've never experienced before.
Post-game, one of the older players from the club's Masters Team (35 years and above) took a look at my injury - with a few doctors in the room, himself included, I was in good hands. Early diagnosis, I'd torn my MCL and possible LCL ligaments in my right knee but that my ACL seemed to be intact - okay, doable.
Stupidly, I drive my car home, followed by teammates/roommates from door to door. It was after 12 midnight so the traffic was minimal to non-existent, which did help. The next day I knew immediately when I woke up for work that I needed to get to the hospital. After spending my usual 9-5 work hours at various hospitals and waiting rooms, I'd seen a surgeon who after more tests concluded it was my MCL which was torn and nothing else. An approximate recovery time of 6 weeks and off I was until my next scheduled appointment in 2 weeks to review the x-rays and mri scans.
After my MRI, the technician, who is not supposed to say yay or nay to anything, told me I needed to call my doctor and get back in to see him as soon as I could - that can't be good. Trained or not, a technician that tells you that must have seen something out of the ordinary right?
My appointment is bumped up by a week and I eagerly await the results.
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The doctor enters the room and sits down with the paperwork - MCL, still torn, LCL, bruised but fine, ACL...torn. In an instant my hopes of returning to soccer, living my everyday active lifestyle, running the Tely 10 Road Race and hiking and camping the entire Pacific Coast with the love of my life are all shattered. The doctor runs over some basic information with me and encourages me to educate myself as much as possible on the injury, recovery and potential surgical procedure. My next appointment is in 6 weeks for a reassessment and hopeful surgery date. I'm encouraged to begin physiotherapy immediately.
A split second injury that looked like a 6 week layoff after initial assessments has now become a year long battle just to get back to being ABLE to walk, run, hike like I used to - not to be better than I am today or even where I was when the injury happened but just to being ABLE to move like I used to.
Recovery starts now.

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