The ACL Injury Survival Guide

Tips to help you recover and not go crazy without the game.

I have played soccer for 20 years and have had my fair share of injuries. Whether I was only out for a few weeks or I just played through them, nobody likes being hurt even though — injury is a part of the game. 

Throughout my years, I have played with plenty of players that have been added to the statistics of those that have torn their ACL. Female athletes suffer close to 10 times more ACL injuries than males, unfair I know.

Unfortunately, my senior year of college (on my senior day no less), I tore my ACL. A day that was supposed to be filled with happiness and celebrating a successful four years of playing Division I soccer, quickly turned into a day, and moment, I will never forget. I can actually still hear the pop my knee made to this day, IYKYK. 

As the most devastating moment of my soccer career, I knew I had to just focus on what I could control, and that was my recovery. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into my first surgery ever, so here are eight tips for the eight months it took me to recover to help you, a friend, a family member or anyone going through an ACL injury get through recovery.  

Tip 1: Pre-Hab

Be sure to keep your knee as strong as possible before going into surgery to make post surgery a much smoother process.

Tip 2: Cryo-Cuff or Game Ready

These will be your new best friends for the first few weeks and will help keep the swelling down. 

Tip 3: Shower Chair

This may sound silly but showering on one leg when the floor is wet is destined for disaster. A chair or stool will make life so much easier and comfortable. 

Tip 4: Coloring Books, Word Searches and Netflix

Anything to keep your mind off the pain is super useful. I found coloring very distracting and relaxing when I was bed ridden. I also basically finished everything on Netflix so enjoy a nice binge session. 

Tip 5: Pillows 

Lots of pillows are helpful to keep your leg elevated and comfortable.

Tip 6: Just keep moving

After surgery be sure to try and stand every hour or so, trust me. It will be painful but it will help keep the blood flowing. 

Tip 7: Positive Environment

Surrounding yourself by family and people that will keep your spirits high is very important. It is easy to shut down when you can’t do the simple things like walk or kick a ball, so stay positive and everything will be fine.

Tip 8: Do whatever you can to keep your love for the beautiful game

I know it may be hard to be around something you love and having to sit on the sideline, but stay engaged, watch film, watch other games and most importantly don’t let a difficult time stop your drive. Always remember the comeback is always stronger than the setback.

Feature photo via AdobeStock @majorosl66


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