Here’s my story…

October 11th, 2009 | Uncategorized |

img00006-20091018-1214Hi all,

   Just wanted to take some time and reach out to all my fellow friends who have endured the same injury that I have.  Still to this day I am still shocked how it happened…Just a brief history about myself…I’m an Active Duty Soldier serving in the United States Army stationed at Fort Lewis, WA and have been in over 10 years now.  Since I was just a young guy I have always been an active guy running around and participating in every sport you could think of and I have always been very concious about my body and what I eat and a physical fitness nut.    Well it was just a couple days ago on October 8th and I was playing quarterback for my unit in a flag football game and it went something like this…I took the snap and the team we had been playing that night had a very good pash rush from the sides and as I stepped up to take off up the middle like I had done a couple times that night all I heard and felt was a loud pop coming from my left ankle…The pain was instant and as I tried to plant that same foot to make a screen pass to one of my guys I just fell down like a sack of potatoes and cringed and starting beating the ground with my fists as the pain got to me…My guys were great as they rushed to me fast when the play was over and starting to question what was wrong and all I can remember saying was “it popped, it popped” and they thought it was my knee but I was holding my ankle…So anyways they carried me off the field to the sideline and called the paramedics.  I laid there with my left ankle elevated on the bleacher chair and back on the ground…Amazing enough the pain was going away and I started to feel like I was ok I guess…Well anyways ambulance came and the game was over (we won 25-6, I threw 1 touchdown and 1 interception)  and sat with the paramedics while they were asking me what happened and there was still no pain until dude try to take off my cleat…He didn’t loosen the laces enough and try to pull up and off the shoe and Whoa did that hurt my calf!!!! Wierd? I still didn’t know what was going on and what happened to me yet?  So anyways I get to the emergency room and I tell Doc what happened and he says your might’ve tore your Achilles and I’m thinking “Should’nt I be in some kind of pain”???  He breaks out the unltrasound machine and looks at the bad leg and then the good leg and does a comparision…Because of the swelling he really couldn’t tell if it was partial of fully torn so he called orthopedic surgery to come down and look…Orthopedic Doc squeezes my good calf  then my bad one and says yep, you need surgery!!! I’m like what!!! Your kidding right?  I was like whoa guy hold on…Is it detached fully or what and he says you tell me!!! LOL… I’m no doctor and this is his specialty so I stopped questioning his judegement at this point… But anyways get this,  it’s Thursday Oct 8th, 2009 when all this is happening and I’m due to catch a flight to visit my family the next morning at 6AM.  I tell the doc this and he says when are you coming back and I tell him the 18th..He says if we wait til then then we can’t do the surgery and you have to recover using the non operative route and that has good chances of rerupture…At that point all I was thinking was damn I’ve always been very active and knowing myself if I do that then I know it’s gonna happen again if I choose that method but what about my family? What about my wife and kids???  What do I tell them and how do I explain this??  I call my wife and tell her the ordeal and she thinks I’m joking LOL. ..( according to her I joke around alot and like to suprise her) but I tell her no I’m not and I think the cracking in my voice says it all and she starts to believe me… I still can’t accept the fact and I sit there and contemplate what to do…Surgery or visit my family…I ask my XO (executive officer who’s in the ER with me) to call the unit physical therapist and ask for a second opinion and he says go with the surgery route…Damn that’s 2 against 1.  Then my XO says the same, 3-1…  As much as I hated to say it I said fine, I’ll do the surgery and now I stopped thinking about the injury and started thinking about my kids…What do I tell them…The orthopedic surgeon was cool though and understood my frustration and told me he’s going to get me in as quick as possible and after about a week of follow ups after the surgery he’s going to recommend some time off for me (about 2 weeks) which is time I could spend with my family and my unit has said they will honor this request…Still til this day (it’s only been 3 LOL) I try to think how this happened and been online researching and reading blog after blog after blog about people like me…Has my body been warning me all along and I just haven’t realized it yet?  Is it myrunning shoes? What about my cleats?  I think about the play and I don’t remember anyone touching me during that play but it happened so fast did somebody cause me to step awkwardly?  Because of this I’ve gotten a lil scared because I don’t want the same thing happening to my right foot now and I’ve even contemplated when I get better to just not participate in organize sports anymore because I push myself to hard because I’ve always been that guy who doesn’t accept defeat…My mind is running at full speed, 100 miles an hour…thinking about the surgery and the pain when I wake up (hopefully none or barely any)..the rehab process…how big my arms are going to get from using crutches LOL…  But anyways I guess reaching out and writing about it and sharing my story will hopefully ease some of my fears and answers some of my questions…I’ll go day by day, week by week sharing my experience with all you.  This is going to be fun!

4 Responses to “Here’s my story…”

  1. Sorry to hear about your injury but we’re all in the same boat here and working through this. I went through a lot of the same emotions..even missed a trip to Cancun this past summer. I injured mine playing basketball with some co-workers. I’ve also said I’m done w/ basketball now but every time I go by the courts and see people playing it calls me. I’m 11 week post op walking in two shoes now. Even now I can’t imagine playing again but maybe with some more time..guess we’ll see. So now I’m stuck to the weight room and riding the bike. Hang in there it does get better little by little but it’s a long journey..

  2. Armydude,
    Welcome to the club. I have friends in the British army and I know how important fitness is to you guys - totally central to every day. So I’m even more sorry that usual to hear of your ATR. But you can and will get better and by now you’ve read plenty of blogs to inspire you and probably quite a few that have depressed you. Never mind. This is a horrible injury and it will take a long time to get back to full strength (sorry, but that pill can’t be sweetened) but it can be done. In the meantime, follow doctor’s orders (you understand about following orders, right?) and for the first couple of weeks after the op you need to do as little as possible except rest and elevate the leg, preferably above your heart. Swelling can seriously hinder healing and risks infection and you really don’t want to go down that path.
    I don’t know what your army job involves day to day but you are going to need them to cut you a lot of slack. Actually, if you have physiotherapists on site then that could be great.
    Anyway, all the very best. Keep with your friends, don’t detach from all the things you enjoy, even if you just have to spectate for a bit. This is a proper sportsman’s injury and it is pretty much a full time job dealing with it. But, yes, you will have fantastic arms from all the crutching!
    Best wishes,

  3. Bummer Armydude. Good luck with the surgery / recovery.

    I continue to be amazed at how varied the “truth” is about how this injury is to be treated.

    Your doc said no surgery unless it’s done asap. My doc operated 8 weeks after my ATR and I appear to be well on my way to a full recovery.

    I would think, by now, there would be a consistant treatment approach. I think a lot of these guys make it up as they go.

  4. To echo Tom’s comment, I too had a long wait for surgery and it was a complete non-issue. Granted, mine wasn’t a full rupture but by the time of the surgery it was just hanging on by a thread.

    And yes, your cleats could have contributed to your rupture. For reasons unknown to me, conventional cleats have no or even slightly negative heel lift (kind of like “Earth Shoes” from the 70s) and that puts added strain on the tendon. When I told my MD I was getting post-match tendonitis in my “good” tendon, he recommended “Tuli” brand heelcups for my soccer cleats and they seem to be working. Tulis were designed as heel cushions but in our case they function as heel-lifts which, because of their design, do not move around inside your shoe. Another option is “turf shoes” which have some built-in lift in the form of a cushioned insole and provide pretty decent traction even on natural grass as long as the field is reasonably dry.

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