My Injury Changed My Life
- Have you ever felt pain so unbearable that you blackout? This is not fantasy it’s a reality. People go through some pretty horrific injuries, but it can go beyond the pain. Mentally an injury can physically change you as a person. I am not talking about the scars that you will end up with post-surgery or the months of rehab it will take to get back to normal it’s the emotional scarring of the injury that changes a person the most. So how did my injury change my life? And did it change it for the better?
How My Injury Happened
My injury was the cause of an unnecessary drill during football practice that was the result of negligence of the coaches to realize the type of blunt force this drill could cause. You see on the news about the CTE that can inevitably be caused by blows to the head. Well not only does CTE exist from hits to the head so do a variety of other injuries that happen to thousands of football players each season. The recent rules on how often contact drills can happen in football hopefully reduce the number of injuries in the coming years but putting 300lb men against one another running full speed from over 10 yards apart is asking for injury and so it happened.
Before the injury happened, I had already sustained a minor tweak of the knee weeks earlier, so I was wearing a knee brace. I could have sat out practice, but I was struggling for a spot to make the varsity football team and wanted to show I was tough enough. As the helmet went on and practice began it was all normal. Stretches went well, the team was fired up about the upcoming season everything was going well until it wasn’t. Coaches wanted to grade the toughness and physicality of players by slamming themselves into one another at a 45-degree angle. This drill not only seemed dangerous at the time but unnecessary.
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As I threw my helmet on for the last time I remember looking across the line at who I was going up against. The biggest and meanest lineman on the football team. A person who weighed close to 300lbs and had no disregard for throwing his body out there. As we ran toward one another the last thing I remember was his voice approaching saying “Lets Go Big Man” and boom out went the lights and the pain that followed was unbearable.
How Does A Knee Injury Feel?
Not pleasant to say the least. Its not possible to describe it unless it has happened to you. But the feeling would be the worst throbbing, broken and disheartening feeling ever. On the ground the first thing noticeable was the obvious pain associated with a broken knee. All I could do was scream the trainer came over and immediately had to call an ambulance. As it was on its way it felt like a full hour. Pain has no boundaries; we get so used to how our bodies feel that anything less than normal feels shocking. This was a total shock.
Although each injury is different you may or may not be able to utilize a knee walker. This is a great resource for anyone who has suffered a lower leg injury. Often times people with knee injuries cannot utilize them because of the pressure needed for the knee to rest on the knee pad. However if you do have a lower leg injury you should absolutely check out some of the knee scooter rental models. It is a great alternative to crutches.
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How Did It Make You A Better Person?
So, this is the real question how did an injury that caused so much pain make me a better person? For one going through two surgeries and the recovery associated with them made me appreciate the finer things in life. For anyone going through an injury I want you to understand that listening to advice for proper healing and following doctors’ orders is imperative. When you go through something traumatic like this is really does make you realize how fragile life can be. When a curve ball is thrown at you how do you respond? You can get down on yourself and look at the negatives. Or you can focus on the positives of getting back. Was I ever going to play football again? No and absolutely not after the second surgery which ended my career for good.
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance these are the five stages of grief and I went through each and every one of them. I was in denial at first. Didn’t want to accept that I had become dependent on crutches and medical equipment for daily tasks. This made me angry which then led to bargaining with god and thinking “why not someone else?” Inevitably it led to depression until finally it led to acceptance. If at any point you have lost a close family member or relative perhaps you have been through this. For others who have not had traumatic injuries let me tell you the five stages of grief are real. It’s how you come to the acceptance part which will ultimately determine who you are as a person.
How did you come to accept the injury?
From the first physical therapy session I knew it was going to be a long road. My recovery was taking longer than expected. The saying is “Everyone heals differently” for me it seemed like it was taking longer but some of the best things in life come from the worst. During this period, I learned how to love writing. I learned that communication, speaking and doing things other than what my physical body would allow were possible. I came to accept that just because aspects of my life were difficult didn’t mean I had to bring others down.
Each and every time I got in the shower it was a process. Getting into bed was a process, getting on the couch was a process, going to school, getting in and out of the car, making food, everything you once took for granted became a process. This slows down the way you do things. It truly makes you appreciate the freedoms you have. Until you loose freedoms and know what that feels like there’s no possible way to know what it’s like.
Talking to people became much easier. Communication is a key part of the recovery process. This opened horizons I never thought were possible. I made it my goal to try and think positively and if someone was having a rough day to try and make them laugh. If you can make one person laugh during the day then you have done a good job for that day. That’s the mentality I chose to live by and still do today.
Why do you think this way?
Everyone has their own way of thinking. Some people always focus on the negative because that is who they are. Others focus on the positive because it’s who they are. Surrounding yourself with love and happiness can be one way to overcome the injury. Luckily, I had a great family that supported myself but not everyone is that lucky. One of the things that worked really well was focusing on small little things that made a difference. Things like getting an A on an exam or getting an extra millimeter out of movement during a physical therapy session. Setting yourself up for goals is truly an amazing experience.
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Why do you wish you had used ergonomic crutches?
During recovery I did it all on basic crutches. At no point did I make an attempt to try ergonomic crutches which would have vastly improved moving over long distances. I unfortunately could not utilize a knee scooter as bending my knee proved difficult. Even putting pressure on the joint weeks after surgery was painful so going with a crutch option for knee surgery is recommend. The worst part about basic crutches is that they don’t have much give to them. Each time a crutch is placed the arms and upper body have to do most of the work. While this is good for short distances longer distances were tougher to manage.
This would have all been made easier with the ergonomic crutches. Impact absorbers would have made my recovery much easier on my arm joints. Overall if I had the knowledge of these during my recovery, I would have chosen them from a comfort standpoint. Just when I was thinking my situation was terrible there was a major moment during recovery which changed me as a person. This is because there are other people who are going through much worse than me.
Others Have It Worse
I always thought to myself how could this be worse? But then after my second surgery I went through the Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston Massachusetts. What I saw was children with heads shaved. I took one look at that and realized they might not make it out of there, but I will. I understood that each day is a gift for me because I’m not dying.
Sure, the pain felt like I was, but the doctors were positive I would make a full recovery. And so, I told myself from that day live for them. Live for each kid out there who’s dying of cancer. Who can’t walk, who can’t run, who cant drive and have the luxuries we take for granted every day. Live for those people and each day will be a gift.
I live everyday appreciative of what I have. If every person around the globe could experience what I had experienced in that hospital you would likely have a similar opinion. Looking upon the faces of kids who were playing and enjoying life despite perhaps a terminal diagnosis touches people. I never knew who those kids were and likely never were but just those few moments changed me for the better. It drove me and propelled me through the recovery.
Mentally and Physically I will forever be scarred by this injury. Physically being a young man and having knee pain every single day is a burden that will forever remind me of the day my life changed. No longer can I partake in physical contact sports ever again. Instead having to watch and accept that my body is just physically unable to do these types of things. Once you come to accept the physical aspect of it the mental aspect is even more difficult.
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Do you know how many times I have wanted to get back to playing sports? I think about it every day but there are other alternative sporting options which are easier on the body. Sports like swimming and golf or mind games like chess and poker. Flashbacks to the injury happen at times and those are difficult to get through but using life and treating it as a gift will encourage a person to be the best that they can be. Surround yourself with love and happiness.
As a person looks forward in life always remember to be content within the day. Live each day and find something to choose out of it that made you happy. Look at each day as a gift and appreciate the small things in life. Look at all the positives of what a normal day brings.
The capability to change into your own clothes, the ability to bathe normally, get out of bed, make dinner and work. When these things are taken away it severely impacts a persons psych. I know it impacted mine. No matter how far life takes me the experience will always scar me.
Every time I see an injury happen, I cringe because it’s not pleasant and depending on the type of injury that person may be in for a long road to recovery. Whenever I attend sporting events and I hear fans rooting on a player to get injured, I get disgusted at that kind of thought process. Those are not fans, and no one should ever take part in that kind of behavior. They have no idea what a process it is getting back to normal everyday life.
The best advice to give would be to keep those positive vibes flowing and the good times rolling. Live, Laugh and Love. If you have suffered an injury we have you covered. We offer a wide variety of medical products to help make your recovery happier and healthier. Check out our great products!
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