How Overcoming An Injury Made Me A Stronger Person
Start writing a post

How Overcoming An Injury Made Me A Stronger Person

The pain of being on the sidelines hurts more than any physical wound.

577
How Overcoming An Injury Made Me A Stronger Person
Mike Wolanin

I grew up with a basketball in my hands. For as long as I can remember, my sport was the center of my world - all the hours of practice, the long road trips to games and late nights spent doing homework were worth it. Basketball made me happy and whole. I couldn't imagine my life without it... and then sophomore year came.

I glanced at the clock with the ball in my hands, eager to make a shot that could tie up the game with less than a minute remaining. I took off, full force, towards the hoop. Suddenly, I felt a push from behind and within a matter of seconds, I was on the ground, clutching my knee, totally unaware of the severity of the situation.

When the doctor told me a few days later that I had torn my ACL, my world felt like it had been turned upside down. I traded my high tops and jersey for a knee brace and warm ups and prepared to face one of the biggest obstacles of my life. I made it through reconstructive surgery and a year of physical therapy, but looking back, I have no clue how I did it. Truthfully, I don't think about it that much anymore.

The other day, someone I was having a conversation with called me a "broken athlete." I have no problem talking about my injuries - they are a part of sports and helped shape who I am today. And yes, there was a time where I would have identified as an "injured athlete." That's fine. It was temporary. But to hear someone call me "broken" is not okay. I am not, and was never, by any means "broken."

Anyone who has sustained a serious sports injury knows that it's heartbreaking. The pain of being on the sidelines hurts more than any physical wound. Watching your team play your game when you can't be out there with them makes you realize how much you take your health for granted. Because no matter how often you complained about practice or the running or the late nights, you know you would give anything to play again.

People underestimate the mental toughness and resilience it takes to start from ground zero and build yourself up again. After surgery, I couldn't even lift my leg. I had to learn to walk again. You don't appreciate your healthy body until something happens and it's not there anymore. But even then, in your weakest moments, you are not "broken."

You are healing, growing, evolving into a stronger athlete and person.

All of the lessons sports have taught you over the years emerge front and center as you grow frustrated with your progress and long for the athlete you were. You think about how succeeded in sports and realize you know exactly what to do: be strong, trust the process, push past discomfort and above all, keep going. Even in that time on the sidelines, you are still an athlete. That never changes.

You are an athlete from the day you fall in love with the game until the day you decide you don't want that title anymore.

You are an athlete long after your last high school game and you are an athlete well into your days of just playing sports for fun. And if you get injured and can never play again, you are by no means a "broken athlete" - your sport will always be a part of who you are.

Tearing my ACL turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It challenged me like never before, helped me to realize how fortunate I am and reshaped my definition of the term "athlete." To me, being an athlete means loving my sport and allowing it to shape me as a person. It means that while my expression of that passion may take different forms in different phases of my life, it will always be part of who I am. It means that no matter what life throws at me, in sports and in other endeavors, I know that I am never, by no means "broken" or incapable - I am powerful beyond measure, and no one can ever take that away from me.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

185917

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1640130

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1027609
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

933200
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

609762
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

392461
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

504467

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments