Donna McNutt

Donna McNutt is a mom, teacher and someone who loves being active. Her two main sports are mountain biking and road biking, though there are other activities that I thoroughly enjoy as well. Being an active person, I not only work out but read on a daily basis.


1) Can you share your ACL story? 

I've had 3 ACL tears...

Tear #1: it occurred in college 1984. It was partial at that time, since arthroscopic was fairly new, they only cleaned out my knee. I wanted to try PT, to see if we can stabilize it. It worked! Though sliding for softball stopped! That was my right knee.

Tear #2 and 3
Mountain biking- both times, threw my left leg out to break a fall. Complete tears both times that required surgery! First surgery used a cadaver- a hamstring and second time an Achilles. The first surgery was 10 years ago, the second 9 months ago.

In PT, a few months ago, my right knee started causing me issues. Sharp pain and occasionally it buckled! Had an MRI, yes in 1984, it was partially torn, now there are zero fibers. So, I do not have an ACL. Last left knee surgery they shaved my meniscus and in the right knee there are also tears in medial and lateral meniscus!

It is inhibiting me from trail running and playing tennis. Doing more road biking, and planning to have this surgery in the winter.


2) What was the hardest part of the experience?

The hardest part is the long recovery!!!!

3) How did you stay motivated throughout the process? 

 I want to continue to be active, therefore I needed to push through the pain to rehabilitate the surgical knee.

4) What advice would you give to other athletes on the road to recovery?

My fitness is back on the bike, for road riding. I sadly have limits, not due to the surgical knee but the other one. My advice is to persevere and make necessary modifications when necessary.

5) Do you think this experience changed you as a person?

I am cautious and modifying some of my cross training. It has made me appreciate that I am healthy, and if this is the worse thing I have to deal with, then I’m fortunate. It’s a setback, not anything too serious. It has provided me with insight how injuries and illnesses impact a person’s life and makes them depressed. Though it does pass, it is real.