ACL injuries create mental hurdles

posted in: Sports, Winter | 0
For many athletes, an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear can be a devastating injury and have an impact on the mental state of the athlete. Everyone has their own unique reaction to injuries. Some athletes become miserable and fear it may happen again when they finally come back, while others look at it as just another challenge and choose to come back without fear.
At Pacific University, in the 2016 fall season, eight athletes of various sports had ACL injuries. One of these athletes was sophomore volleyball player Alyssa Panis, who experienced her second ACL injury of her volleyball career. “I was going up for a ball in practice and I landed on one foot to take the pressure off my other leg that I had previously injured,” Panis said. “It just felt like my knee gave out. I fully tore my ACL and had two tears in my meniscus.” But Panis had a more emotional reaction to her second ACL injury. “I thought, damn, not again,” Panis said. “I was crying my eyes out because I couldn’t believe it happened again.”
Another Pacific athlete, junior offensive linemen Kit Taura, also experienced an ACL tear this season during a game against Pacific Lutheran University. “I was blocking a defender and another defender flew in for a tackle and missed our running back and flew into my knee as I was planting my leg,” Taura said. Taura tore his ACL, medial collateral ligament (MCL) and partially tore his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) on the play. Taura also had a strong reaction to the injury after he found out he would be out for the season.
“Right when I came off the field I thought it wasn’t that bad,” Taura said. “When I found out what really happened I was really mad, but I eventually got over it.” After season-ending injuries for Panis and Taura, each of them carry a different mindset for when they do recover from their injuries. Panis, now tearing her ACL for the second time, admits she does fear it may happen again.
“Yeah of course I’m scared that it might happen again,” Panis said. “I feel like I can come back from this and I know that I won’t be able to play at the same level right away, but I hope I can eventually.”
 Despite the tears in Taura’s knee, he is optimistic he will be able to bounce back next season even stronger than before. “I don’t fear it will happen again because I wear a knee brace and it was just a freak accident how it was hurt,” Taura said. “I honestly think that I’ll come back even better than before.”

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