This has basically been my view the past few days. (D.Hixon - Photo)
This past Tuesday I had ACL Reconstruction surgery, using a piece of my own hamstring to rebuild the torn and frayed ACL that had been flopping around in my left knee. I suffered the injury back in Mid-March playing basketball in my Corporate League. I've never had knee problems before as traditionally my injuries were ankle born, and I never knew the pain, nor effort, that was required to fully recover from an ACL injury. I've suffered some pretty nasty ankle injuries, and have even been hit by a car while in a crosswalk, but no pain has come close to what I felt when my left knee shifted awkwardly trying to save a loose ball early in the second half of a game. I went down in an instant, and it took biting my own hand to quell the pain from being expressed too loudly throughout the gym.
Looking at past knee injuries to Boston athletes such as Tony Allen, Wes Welker, and Tom Brady, I now garner new respect for them being able get back to playing at the level they do. It's truly inspiring. I've also gained an immense amount of respect for physical therapists, who do some amazing things on a daily basis to help people move regularly again. I'm using the Cambridge Branch of the Sports and Physical Therapy Associates and they've been absolutely excellent. My good friend Mandy is a part of this group, so I knew I'd be working with good people, and they've already helped push me to new levels, despite me lapsing for a week when feeling sorry for myself and my lost summer. The smart, talented, and inspiring therapists coupled together with the top notch staff and surgeons at Beth Israel, which is after all the official hospital of the Red Sox, has been a great match thus far. And I feel like it's up to me to see how well and fast I recover now.
My road is just beginning, but thought it was important to note the work needed, and the people supporting that work in order to heal after serious sports injuries. From a fans point of view, we lose perspective as we sit on the couch with beer in hand, and feet on the coffee table, as we bemoan the play on the field. We sort of understand how hard it is to hit a baseball, although I think we often lose perspective on that as well, but we rarely think about the work needed, or the pain received, when an athlete gets injured. We clap as they limp off the field or give a thumbs up, and then move onto the next play, when in reality, that athletes next play may be never, and if it is down the road, it's only due to a strong support system, and a Team of talented professionals, such as the ones they have at Sports and Physical Therapy Associates and Beth Israel.
All it takes is losing your ability to walk correctly to realize how much is taken for granted, including the recovery process, and if I'm thankful for one thing with my injury, it's realizing there's people like the ones I'm working with now, who help strangers recover and get their life back each and every day. Can't think of anything more admirable than that.