"In the end it is up to you to see better results. So be patient, ask questions, cry, and laugh because all those things are okay."
- ACL stories
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Alexandria Parisian suffered an ACL injury in her left knee in 2021. Parisian tore her ACL in the middle of her senior season playing in a collegiate volleyball game at the University of Hawaii.
I HEARD A VERY BAD SOUND AND INSTANTLY WENT TO THE FLOOR KNOWING SOMETHING WAS WRONG.
“I tore my acl in the middle of my senior season playing in a collegiate volleyball game. On October 6th, I went to hit a ball and landed wrong on my left leg. I heard a very bad sound and instantly went to the floor knowing something was wrong. My athletic trainer, Kensei, mentioned I was resisting/fighting him for him to evaluate what was wrong with my knee. He diagnosed it was my ACL and possibly meniscus. After scans, MRI’s, and seeing doctors, it was confirmed that I tore my ACL and had some damage in my lateral meniscus.”
THE HARDEST PART WAS ACCEPTING
“I scheduled to have a surgery on November 16th to try and strengthen my leg as much as I could before then. The hardest part was accepting that I could no longer play and I would have to watch. You never realize how much you care about something till it’s gone. I went through countless nights crying and sobbing, not because of my pain, but because I could no longer play the sport I loved. Until the date of my surgery, I would do leg raises, quad sets, and heel slides. We had some home games where I learned and saw the game from the sidelines. I was lucky enough to have my family with me when I got the surgery since I had my senior night game coming up. Even though I wasn’t playing, it was a very special night.”
YOU NEVER REALIZE HOW MUCH YOU CARE ABOUT SOMETHING TILL IT’S GONE.
OAHU – HILO – HAWAII
“After getting the surgery, I had no idea how much responsibility it was to take care of your knee. Once you leave that hospital, it’s all up to you to move that leg (depending on the extent of your injury and rules you were given). I had to get surgery on Oahu which is on another island. My Dad and I spent the night in Oahu, but hopped on a flight the day after surgery to Hilo! It was one of the roughest experiences ever. I was in so much pain and even though it was only a 45 minute flight… It felt like hours. 4 days after my surgery on November 20th, I got up and went to my senior night game where I was mentioned.”
ONE WEEK POST OP APPOINTMENT
“I was balancing school, recovering, and coping with my injury still. I tried to do minimal exercises, but wasn’t aware that I should’ve taken the dressings off on my own after a certain point. My leg was insanely swollen and sore all the time. On November 22nd, I had my one week post op appointment. That’s where I found out that so was supposed to take the dressings out which had a fat white piece that was super thick. That’s why when I iced my leg, I could barely even feel it due to the dressings. I hated walking, moving, showering, and my back was always hurting. But with the support of family and friends, it made the early stages easier.”
“After started physical therapy on December 6th, it was rough. I was in pain every session because her approach was to get that leg to bend. Then I went home for Christmas and kept up with physical therapy there. I just was so frustrated and sad that my leg wasn’t progressing. It was so hard to bend and I just couldn’t get it past 80 degrees. I was upset because I also had no guidance as to where I should be at my stage of recovery. Simple things like, “should i still be using crutches?” “should my brace be a little more unlocked?” “shouldn’t i be walking normal by now?”
AFTER GETTING PUT UNDER ANESTHESIA AND RECEIVING THE MANIPULATION, I INSTANTLY FELT BETTER AND WAS ABLE TO MOVE BETTER.
“When I returned to Hawaii to go back to college on January 12th. I also had a post op appointment with my surgeon. And man was i disappointed with bad news. My ACL was fine, but he said I needed a manipulation. Which meant I needed to be put under to stretch out my leg and also dig out the extra scar tissue. So i went back to the operating room on January 20th. After getting put under anesthesia and receiving the manipulation, i instantly felt better and was able to move better. I was super sore and my muscles felt like they went through a really tough leg workout or punched a million times. It was sore and i don’t think my legs were used to being moved or stretched the way it was. Then I got to work. I had to work fast and try to bend my leg. ”
FLEXION AND BENDING MY KNEE
“I had a PT appointment the following day on January 21st. I have only been talking about flexion and bending my knee but i also have been short on my extension as well. Not too bad but a few degrees short of extension. So my surgeon ordered something called a dyna -splint that helps with extension and flexion. Fast forwarding to PT sessions two times a week, using dyna-splints, and exercises by myself i’m now at 100 degrees and can get all the way around the bike at February 1st!”
“This is only the beginning of a long recovery and i understand that it will take time. This recovery will be a roller coaster for me because there’s so many days where there will be highs and lows. this injury is so mentally tough and long. You have to have the will power to better yourself for yourself. In the end it is up to you to see better results. So be patient, ask questions, cry, and laugh because all those things are okay. I always hear from others to be proud of all your accomplishments no matter how small because those are all wins. Every accomplishment is a win and you will have to overcome so many challenges overtime. I look forward to riding a bike more comfortably, being able to squat comfortably, and walking comfortably. But first, i have to work on gaining some strength in my leg. There are some days where my leg will cooperate and work with me, and other days it feels so sore and weak. You just have to take care of it by icing and stretching. Remember that in the end, it’s all up to you.”
YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE WILL POWER TO BETTER YOURSELF FOR YOURSELF.
Text: Jeroen van de Camp, Team-ACL.com