ACL Injury Recovery

Let me introduce myself...........

My name is Ethan Mann. Some of you probably already know me. I am 16 years old and play at a highly competitive level of lacrosse. As a freshman I played for the varsity lacrosse team. I also play for my club lacrosse team FCA. My main goal is to play college lacrosse.

This Past Season.....................

During the past season (club and school ball) I was able to have a large amount of success. Multiple take away's, a few goals, and a large amount of ground balls lead to my success as a high level athlete. My hard work and dedication paid off when the month of June came. I tried out for the Under Armour All-America team. I made the team and was written up out of 6 players as a standout

With all the success happening around me it seemed like almost nothing could go wrong... I should've knocked on wood when i had the chance because i had no idea what was in store for me.

About 3 days before the Under-Armour All American tournament i suffered a catastrophic, season ending injury. This picture shows the exact moment when i planted and stopped to do a spin move causing me to tear my ACL, MCL, and Meniscus.

Many of you most likely have heard of an ACL tear before. However, for those of you who haven't and ACL tear is caused by a sudden stopping and or twisting motion. This motion therefore causes the ligament to tear giving extreme pain and swelling to the person who has sustained the ligament tear.

So What's The Big Deal???

You may think "What's wrong with tearing it? Can't You just fight through it, ice, and get back out there?". Well I for one wish it were that simple... The bad thing about tearing your ACL is that it does not heal on it's own. Unlike a broken bone the ACL is a ligament, you are only given one. If it is damaged or torn it will never regenerate. This means, YUP. You guessed it...... SURGERY

The Surgery

In order to completely repair an ACL there are three options from which you and your family can choose. Patellar tendon graft, hamstring tendon graft, or a cadaver (a deceased persons ACL). The choice varies from person to person but my family went with the patellar graft. Many surgeons say that it is a proven fact that the patellar tendon is the strongest of the three.

Patellar graft ACL reconstruction.

For this type of surgery, the surgeon will make a small incision to the front of the knee and will continue to cut out a bone graft along with the pateller graft. Next, the surgeon will prepare the new ACL for the patient. After that the surgeon will then, using the same incision insert the patellar graft through two holes drilled through the femur and tibia. these holes are then bolted shut.

Here's where the "fun" begins

After surgery is where things really begin to get difficult. For a few days you're pretty much going to do nothing but eat, sleep A LOT, go to the bathroom, and sadly be in constant pain.

You aren't necessarily going to be able to move either. The brace which you can see on my leg in the background keeps your leg locked out at 0 degrees (completely straight) and it's not comfortable.

You're also not going to want to do anything because of the excruciating pain brought on by the surgery. Any movement in the leg before around 5 days post-op is going to result in some serious pain.

Over the course of the first 3 days after surgery MAKE SURE you take the medication the doctor prescribes. Neglecting to do so will just make the pain even worse.

Physical Therapy.

To sum it all up the hardest part of this whole process is the physical therapy. Movements which cause extreme discomfort and sometimes even a bit of pain. It's the process of rehabilitation and it's not an easy task to accomplish.

It took me around 6 months of constant treatment. 3 days of physical therapy and 2 days of personal training every week. Including a lacrosse training session every Sunday. All in all I had one day off a week.

Physical therapy that comes along with this injury includes stretches, agility work, strengthening exercises, conditioning, massages, and many more movements/exercises.

After a while the therapy begins to seem impossible. When the progress in reality isn't what you imagined, you do begin to lose a bit of hope. Thoughts that you may never come back from the injury do begin to race through your head.


As hard as it may seem to stay positive through the rehabilitation process of this injury, you must keep positive thoughts. 8/10 athletes never get back to their sport after an ACL tear. Many of the people who do elect to quit, quit because they have been away from their sport for so long.

I was one of the people who almost quit but I stayed positive. No matter how hard it gets it is essential that you push through. In the end everything turns out the way you expected as long as you stay positive, do your therapy, and train to your ability.

Returning to sport.

The first time returning to your sport may be a bit uncomfortable. It might even seem a bit scary. The worst thing to do is be scared. If you favor one leg you may injure the "good" leg or even re injure the bad leg. Be confident, be excited, and play how you would have had you never even injured yourself!

Any Questions?


Created with images by Beneath_B1ue_Skies - "My Torn ACL"

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