Road to Recovery after Tearing ACL Playing Lacrosse

My name is Amanda and I am 16. I have been a varsity cross country runner and lacrosse player since my freshman year in high school. I am very active and my best 5k was 20:35. I tore my right ACL and meniscus playing lacrosse on May 9, 2013. I tore my ACL while running for a ground ball in a game.

Tore ACL Playing Lacrosse

Heard a Pop


I went to plant my foot and my knee hyper-extended and I heard a pop and went down. I tried bending my knee to get up and walk but I was unable to and was carried off the field. I was never expecting to have such a serious injury…I was hoping to get back into the game after halftime.

Hearing from the doctor that I tore my ACL and needed reconstruction surgery was devastating to me.

It might sound over exaggerated to many people, but as a kid in high school sports is the one thing that I love and that my life has revolved around. My surgery took place on June 10, 2013. I used my own patellar tendon for reconstruction and had a the tear in my meniscus sewn back together.

3 Weeks Out of Surgery

I am three weeks out of surgery and I am walking with one crutch. I plan on being able to walk before week 4. My knee brace is still locked at 0 degrees for two more weeks due to the meniscus tear. I have trouble bending my knee to 90 degrees but the doctor pushed it there once which caused me a lot of pain. It should be easier to bend once I start walking more. I go to physical therapy 3x a week and the other days I work out by myself. Right now I still can’t do much because of the meniscus injury, but in two more weeks I will be able to extend my knee brace to 90 degrees, which means I will be able to bend my knee and start improving. My therapist told me that he is going to do scraping therapy to break up my quad muscle because it is preventing my knee cap from moving fully, so after that it will also be easier to bend.

This surgery was my first surgery ever so it was very scary to me.

I don’t think the realization of the whole injury hit me until a week after it happened when all the information had settled in and I was just so upset, but I have a wonderful family, coaches and team that was there to support me and cheer me up. I was so mad at myself for getting hurt but I can’t do anything about it now except get better. After surgery, you don’t feel the pain right away, well I didn’t. I had a femoral and sciatic nerve block that didn’t fully wear off for 3 days. Even 3 weeks later my quad does not feel completely normal. For me, the physical pain wasn’t the worst part. It is a total mental game and I have been losing horribly recently.

Returning To Sports

I have been thinking of all the things I am not going to be able to do, all the things I am missing out on(cross country season), and worrying about not making it back for  next lacrosse season. I’ve let that get to me and I am trying my hardest to move past it and stay positive. Some days are better than others for sure, but staying positive and keeping my head up is a lot easier said than done especially since I keep a lot to myself. Also, after surgery you are just going to have to accept the fact that you are going to need help from other people to do almost everything. Trust me it’s hard, especially because I am very independent and always on the go but I’ve learned how to ask for help and how to accept help.

Advice For Surgery

But my advice to you is, after surgery takes care of yourself. Don’t put yourself in a lot of pain and just sit down and relax because you can’t do much anyway. Also, accept help from other people and keep a smile on your face even if you feel like crying, because if you smile enough you’ll be happy. And if you’re ever feeling down, look up a bunch of positive and inspirational quotes, it helps more than you think and remember you need your knee for your whole life so missing a season of a sport isn’t the end of the world even if it feels like it is!

The Top 5 At Home Exercises
I did that helped get me walking 4 days after surgery

Click Here to see the exercises


  1. My daughter had the same injury playing soccer on May 11. She had her surgery June 21 and she is a 13 years old. Thank you for sharing and definitily stay positive

  2. My 16 year old daughter tore her ACL playing lacrosse. She jumped shooting on goal and landed on her left knee that “popped”. She had a patellar bone repair on June 25, 2013. After one week she was in PT. Now at one month she is working on the exercise bike and leg presses. She is walking without crutches (since week 2) but she is wearing a brace. She hopes for a full recovery by next season (Jan. 2014). I’ve been reading so much online that makes me unsure. Please keep me updated with your recovery. Wishing you the best!

  3. Wow Amanda great 5k time. Sorry to hear about the knee. As a dancer I suffered a lot of knee pain. I never had ACL surgery but I can just imagine how much it truly sucks going through.

  4. Amanda, your story sounds almost exactly like my daughters. She tore her acl playing in only her 5th lacrosse game as a freshman in high school. She was having a terrific season when she went down on April 3, 2014. It looked like just a little slip on wet grass but when she let out a blood curdling scream we knew it was bad. Fortunately, she had very little swelling and there isn’t any other damage to her knee. She is staying active and basically has full range of motion. She is walking normally. If it wasn’t for the brace, you wouldn’t even know that she had an injury. Her surgery is scheduled for May 8th. Like you, it is a struggle for her to sit still when her whole life has revolved around sports. She doesn’t know what to do with herself. I really would like to know how your recovery is going so I can share it with my daughter. She knows it will be a long road ahead but she is looking forward to getting back on the lacrosse field next spring.