To Jump: Life After ACL Surgery
In the last two weeks, Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert, Baron Davis and Mariano Rivera have all torn the anterior cruciate ligament in their respective knees. This flurry of ACL injuries has completely reordered the NBA playoffs, has altered the careers of these men and has led some to believe that there is a curse on Gotham City. The rehabilitation from this injury is grueling, but this moment, when these four elite athletes have just entered the rehab process, is the perfect time to hear from a young lady working for AmeriCorps in Boston who has just reached the top of the proverbial mountain and seen the other side.
Today’s column is a guest piece by Sarah Prensky-Pomeranz, a writer and Boston-based social worker who tore her ACL seven months ago in an adult league soccer game. She continues to rehab daily, and as you’ll read below, is finally back on her way to full recovery:
Today, I jumped for the first time in seven months.
Ever since I tore my ACL on November 6th, 2011, my feet haven’t lifted off the ground. Until today.
Until today, I slushed through puddles. I walked down bus steps one at a time and accepted that I couldn’t reach anything slightly beyond my fingertips.
When I received exciting news, I hopped in an up-and-down frenzy on one leg as if I’d stubbed my toe instead of learning that I had been awarded a Fulbright grant. All I wanted to do was spring off the ground with both legs and soar.
Because I couldn’t jump, I spilled a smoothie on my head. I ate scrambled eggs off of a yogurt lid and allowed a Boston basement centipede to squiggle over my sandaled foot.
Because I couldn’t jump, I only could use the toaster when my roommate was home. I wiped up spilled pesto with a beach towel and merely wiggled my shoulders when a Tupac imposter sang “Thugz Mansion”.
My feet fused to the ground.
So today, when my physical therapist told me I could finally jump, I froze. I couldn’t comprehend what she was saying. The letters, “J-U-M-P” floated ethereally in front of me and I squinted my eyes against their brightness. “Jump over this line of tape,” my therapist said.
My brain synapses stopped firing. My will and my body refused to speak to each other. I just waited. As if jumping off the ground would happen to me. As if that natural bend and spring would just…go. And still I waited.
I could get sappily metaphorical here and say that I wasn’t waiting to physically jump. That the identity crisis in my knee (a piece of my hamstring was now underneath my knee cap!) wasn’t just happening in my knee. That I wasn’t scared to take a literal leap. That the only thing holding me back from jumping was myself.
And yes, as I faced my physical therapist in an awkward half-squat, it was about me. To jump was everything. To jump was finally loving this city. To jump was proudly yelling to the world that I only have four friends in Boston. To jump was another day closer to my move to Africa. To jump was to make a statement to no one but myself.
And so I jumped over that taped line. Twice.
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