Mix'd Bag

My ACL | Oh *SNAP*

1 Comment 09 | September | 2014

Until very recently the term “ACL” only brought to mind the sun-scorched dusty fields of Zilker park in Austin, Texas, and the annual music festival that draws crowds of thousands to inhale said dust and chase it with $9 plastic cups of Heineken…Austin City Limits. However, a short while ago my association with the acronym shifted drastically, focusing sharply on the medical version…Anterior Cruciate Ligament. The shift was brought on by a cross-field run in a coed soccer game, during which I took a “misstep” which cause my knee to bend left-to-right, versus the conventional (and highly preferable) front-to-back. I had not anticipated my knee’s decision to try something new and innovative thus my reaction wasn’t nearly as subdued and polished and I would have hoped. Here is how I wish I had handled myself.

(with a Parliamentary British accent)
Me: Well then….it seems I’ve taken quite the fall. Don’t I feel sheepish.
Me: Given my solemn disposition I’d wager my knee bone is not connected to my funny bone.
(Crowd goes wild with laughter)
Me: But apparently it’s connected to all of yours! Jolly good.
(Standing ovation. Someone throws a bouquet of flowers)


Instead, the scene played more like a 13-year-old girl getting face-first axe murdered.

Me: Aaaaaaaaggggghhh!!!
Me: Oh shit. Shit. Shitshitshit.
Me: FUUUUUUUCK. fuuuuck. FuCkfuCkFucK.
Me: Oh, Jesus.
Me: Goddamnit.damn.damnit.Shitty.fuck.
Other Team: He’s diving! Get up, you bitch!
Me: (deep breathing – Lamaze style) If I wasn’t really hurt I’d already be kicking your testicles to the back of your teeth.*
*This is what I wish I had said.

After five minutes of writhing and cursing like an Irish hooker, I was helped off the field by two teammates where I began to assess the damage. I didn’t hear or feel a *pop* so I was pretty sure I hadn’t torn anything. Whew, thank god. I wrote it off as a bad sprain and managed to make it home.

Fast forward two weeks and while my range of motion had improved and pain/stiffness decreased, I was still hobbling and the improvements had reached a plateau. At that point Aleve wasn’t cutting it so I went against every male instinct and decided to see a doctor. Not only that, I was going to a specialist…an orthopedist. *fancy*

Roughly 86 nanoseconds after making this decision my brain flooded with questions. How much is this gonna cost? Will my health insurance cover this? What the hell was going on? What had I done to myself? How long would it take to undo? I can has cheezburger?


Fortunately I have found many friends who had already walked limped this path and were ready to shepherd me through the valley of darkness. In an effort to pay it forward and to provide some clarity and hilarity to others in the same boat I’m embarking on a series of posts highlighting dos, don’ts, didn’ts, can’ts, wouldn’ts, shouldn’ts, and couldn’ts.

Even if you haven’t suffered through an ACL tear, I’m hoping you can relate to similar stories of recovery, or just gain greater appreciation for how amazingly complex and functional the human body can be.


The Anterior Cruciate Ligament:

So for starters, what the hell is an ACL and what does it do? If you’ve previously suffered my fate you already know this answer, and if you become 1 of the 100,000 people in the US to suffer a tear each year, you’re definitely going find out. As suggested by the “C” (Cruciate), your ACL is crucial in stabilizing your knee when you plant your foot or turn your body. It connects your femur (thigh bone) to your tibia (shin bone). Any doctor will tell you that surgery is required if you ever want to play sports again, rob banks, do the Ickey Shuffle, the Smurf, the Wop, the Baseball Bat, or unload the dishwasher (aggressively).



Seeing as how I’ve played soccer since I was four years old, there wasn’t really a decision to be made. I still can’t imagine anyone not opting for surgery but I’d suspect these are a few common reasons to forgo ACL reconstruction.

– they are a Rook
– they are extremely averse to spontaneity
– lifetime excuse not to play Twister or do the Electric Slide
– they live in their parents’ basement
– they unload dishes like a giant pussy

So unless you’re Baron von Boring, hook yourself up with a good doctor and take your first step towards getting back in the saddle. Otherwise, get back in the sad hole.

Stay Tuned: Next I’ll cover my orthopediacal* experience.
*not a real word

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