When I think back to the summer of 2012, there were some days I just didn’t want to be bothered. There was no understanding as to why I was in this painful situation. It was as if I had chains holding me bondage and stopping me from doing the one thing that I loved.

During the summer, I played AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball (summer league basketball) and this particular day I felt fine. We were playing a pretty decent team. Before the second half we were down by a couple of points. Just before the end of the second half I got a steal, and I was going for a fast break lay-up. I knew there was a girl behind me, but I had a slight faster speed than her so I was ahead of her. I was at the basket going for a left-hand lay-up, and felt her nudge me in my back as I came down. I felt something tear within the inside of my knee and the pain that I felt was something that I couldn’t explain, it was unbearable.

I was hollering, screaming, crying, and cringing. I just wanted the pain to end and get back to helping my team win. My coach rushed over after calling a timeout to see if I was ok. She asked if I was ok and if I could walk, I was crying so I wasn’t able to answer her. She carried me to the bleachers and I tried to shake off the pain. Someone gave me ice to keep the swelling and pain down to a minimum, and after icing my knee for 20 minutes I tried to shake the pain off. I got up to test my walking and running abilities, but I could hardly walk on it without feeling any pain. I was thinking that it was just a mild sprain and I would be able to bounce back quickly.

As I continued trying to walk, the pain got worse and worse. I knew then that I had to get to the hospital to see what was going on with my knee. My mom came and asked what had happened, so I told her what happened and told her I was in a lot of pain. So, the coach and another man that worked for the school (to my assumption) carried me to the car which was right outside the gym. The ride to the hospital was nerve wrecking. I remember forcing myself to think that it was just a sprain and that I would be out for a couple of weeks.

We arrived to the hospital and my dad was already there. They brought me a wheelchair and as we were going inside I was telling my father that it won’t be anything serious, it probably was just a sprain. We went to the emergency room so that I could get examined right away. By the time the doctor came I was convinced that it was just a sprain and my dad agreed as well. The doctor examined my knee and it was a little swollen, but I still needed an x-ray to see for sure what the problem was. I had the x-rays done and the doctor told me to follow up on the report at an orthopedic center near my house.

That following Monday, my dad and I went to the orthopedic center and we were scheduled to meet with the surgeon that reviewed my x-rays. The surgeon brought us into the room and during this time I was so nervous, anxious, and curious all at once. He showed us the x-ray images of my knee and explained that I had torn my ACL, which is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. I immediately broke down crying. It felt like someone stabbed me in my chest. Basketball was something close to my heart and it felt like someone had taken  that away from me. My dad consoled me and told me it was going to be okay while the doctor was explaining the process that I would have to go through in order to come back healthy.

The doctor left us speechless, there was really nothing that I could say. As we left the orthopedic center, we both left trying to prepare ourselves to just take it one day at a time. June of that same year I had my surgery, which seemed like a whole day but it was only for a few hours. I left that day drugged up so I barely remembered the car ride home. When we got home it was the worse experience ever. I was so sick from the anesthetic that I vomited all over the living room floor as soon as I got into the house. I felt sick and weak  for a month because I was on bed rest for a while before I started therapy. I was depressed and I didn’t really want to play basketball anymore.

After a month, I started therapy which lasted for my whole junior year. It was unfortunate  that I didn’t get to play that year, but I was grateful that I still had one more year to play. There were a lot of lessons that I learned during that time but there were about three lessons that I still follow by to this day.

The first lesson is to respect my coaches and respect my parents. Reason being is because my injury happened due to my actions towards my elders. I was always taught that what you sow is what you will reap. During the time period that my injury had happened, I really didn’t have any respect for my parents nor my coaches. Second lesson is to work out on a regular basis. Before my injury I hardly worked out, especially on my legs. I was conditioned and in good shape, but I wasn’t strong enough to last me for the regular season, postseason , and the summer. Working out on a regular basis would’ve prevented the situation from being so dramatic like it was. Last lesson that I learned about the experience is that you have to work hard. Work hard when no one else is looking.

Then when you have the platform to perform at a high level great things can happen for you. I worked my butt off during therapy, but afterwards I didn’t realize that I needed to work even harder to bring my skills back to where there were before, but even better. Overall, I’m grateful for the experience because I would’ve never learned these things, which has made me into the female athlete that I am today.