“Soccer or Basketball?”
That’s all I need to ask the girl at the gym. She looks about 16 and she’s got a 4 inch vertical scar down the middle of her left knee. She’s newly post ACL surgery. That goes without saying.
“Soccer,” she says. She tore it on Halloween but “just had surgery in December.” It’s “only been 4 months.” And that’s the language of the ACL tear. Once you do it, you start looking at life in months until you can get back into action.
She told me she played for a Herndon travel team. Oh, and played for South Lakes High School. Emphasis on the “-ed.” But not this year. Nope. That season is gone forever.
She tells me this after she finished up her planks and her floor strengthening work and climbs aboard a frame designed for heavy duty ab work. She looks strong, even though her scar looks raw. I had guessed about 4 months; I can look at ’em now and predict how long post-surgery they are. She’s been through the traditional physical therapy and in a week she’ll start working with a trainer at the gym.
I don’t tell her that that’s the business I am in. I don’t steal other peoples’ clients. But that’s confirmation of what I am seeing more and more: kids are walking out of the surgical suite, running through 3-4 months of therapy (what insurance will cover) and then released into the world of competitive youth sports. They need a trainer to transition them back into the strength, quickness and confidence of high speed play.
Fit2Finish is getting this inquiry more and more. “My kid is recovered but she needs to “return to play.” Or she had an injury scare; thank goodness it wasn’t an ACL, but she needs to be stronger and quicker to avoid further injury. That’s why Fit2Finish is launching its new “Personal Training” branch. We’re not about training your nine year old to be faster than other nine year olds. We’re about bringing your emerging athlete back to the field full force.
Last night I got a great look at Ali Krieger, US Women’s National Team defender and International Star footballer, taking the field for the Washington Spirit. January 20th, 2012, the day she tore her right MCL and ACL, is ancient history. She’s matching Sydney Leroux step for step in chase of a long ball down the flank. She’s backtracking on a perfect line to disrupt a would-be point blank shot from a Breaker attacker. She’s mixing it up in the box with the talent of today’s game.
And then calmly, coming away with the ball. To dribble, pass or make the attacking run up the sideline. Ali is back. Thank God for good surgeons and great rehab.
It’s the reality of these competitive sports. Injuries happen, often at the worst possible moments. We’d like to prevent them all, but we can’t. Next best thing: moving those kids back into the game, one exercise session at a time.
From what I can tell, the ones who really want it will work for it and come back both stronger and with a greater appreciation for what their body needs to perform. I’m not gonna say that it’s worth it. But it certainly does pay dividends.
Go ahead. Keep your eye on Ali. She’ll inspire you. But don’t underestimate her. She’s all business. You can just tell by the way she carries herself on the field. No doubt that’s the way she carried herself through rehab. She’s leading the way for so many girls to come back from injuries.
I’m hoping the 16 year old from Herndon will tune into see Ali, between training sessions, of course. It’s a way of life for athletes. Train to get better, no matter where you begin.