As an athlete, ACL injuries can feel downright devastating.
And believe me, as a former athlete myself, I get it. When you experience an ACL injury, you don’t just lose the ability to play your sport — you lose all the things that come with it. The pride in being able to work your butt off, the camaraderie of training and playing with teammates, the psychological benefits of being able to stay active consistently. The list could go on and on, and for each athlete, I’m sure their sport means something a little different to them.
It’s ok to be upset. ACL injuries are tough. Take your time processing the injury as long as you need to.
But when you’re ready to shift your focus from:
how you choose to respond to what’s happened
this message is for you.
ACL injuries CAN be a blessing in disguise.
Let’s just take a moment and think about how the ACL injury occurred to begin with. You were performing at your sport, and at some point, the ACL was forced to take on more load than it was capable of holding.
Because the ACL took on more load than it was capable of holding, it tore.
With that thought in mind, we need to ask the question: why was my ACL forced to take on so much load compared to other athletes who do not suffer an ACL tear?
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The answer is that certain muscles throughout the kinetic chain were not creating and absorbing force efficiently enough to minimize load on the ACL. When muscles do not create and absorb force efficiently, those forces are distributed elsewhere in the body– to other muscles, soft tissues, and yes, ligaments like the ACL.
In other words, there was a “kink” somewhere in your kinetic chain. Some muscle (or muscles) were not performing to 100% of their capability, which put the ACL at risk.
Not only did these muscles put the ACL at risk, but they were also holding you back from truly achieving your full performance capacity… and you probably didn’t even realize it.
Therefore, if your ACL recovery program focuses on not only correcting for the ACL injury, but also correcting the root of what caused the ACL injury in the first place, the injury can truly be a blessing in disguise.
It means you have months to focus on identifying what your weaknesses were before the injury and working to make them your strengths.
It means that you can come back from this injury performing at an even higher level.
It means you CAN and SHOULD come back bigger, faster, and stronger.
In the end, it just all depends on where you and your ACL recovery team place the focus. Make sure to ask not only how they can help you get back to 100%, but also address the deficits that may have caused the ACL tear in the first place!
If you approach your ACL recovery in this way, it’s possible that you will ultimately learn to see it as a blessing in disguise.