Toil and Commitment
Here I was, at what I thought was the end of a productive sophomore year full of acquiring new friends and focused on my commitment to high school athletics. I had spent months toiling in the heat of summer, and the bitter cold of wind chill under the Friday night-lights. I barely had time to strap off my pads, when I found myself suddenly off the football field and pushed onto the basketball hardwood. The practices were beginning to take a toll on my perseverance and stamina. My skin itched from the jersey that was rubbing against my skin. My coach got my attention from across the gym and ordered me to guard the most physical player on the team. It was an assignment that could be considered difficult for most, but my gut feeling kept me confident. As the practice continued, I found myself lying on the solid, dusty floor with a dislocated kneecap.
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One month later, I hobbled out of the doctor’s office wedging the door open with my crutches, thinking of the nine-month rehab that loomed in front of me. I knew my commitment to rehab, and my personal determination, would be the only possible solution for me to ever step foot on the football field again with a jersey and pads protecting my body. For nine months I was in therapy, not knowing if my opportunity of practicing or even playing football would ever come along my path. Three days a week I sat in a physical therapy clinic that was committed to not giving up on me. I remember laying down and having my leg on a large bouncing ball, retracting my leg, pushing myself to gain more and more range of motion. I slowly began to realize that I wanted to pursue physical therapy as a career. By February of 2010, I could finally smell the grass again. I treasured off-season workouts solely out of the thankfulness to be in football, my lifeline. For months, the weight room and the practice field consumed me; nothing could satisfy my desire to make a full recovery.
It was July, the season was months away and the sense of urgency ignited our spirit on the field. For once I considered myself a healthy contributor to the team, confident that I poured my heart into the successful rehab of my left knee. However, one day during practice, the unforgettable pain swept through my body after a tackle; my knee had swelled to the size of a balloon within minutes.
Suffering through two knee injuries turned from unfortunate events to an opportunity for inspiration. Without being hurt, I would not have been witness to the countless hours that the therapists invested for my personal benefit. It is now my hope that I can be the blessing in people’s lives just like the therapists were to me.