Kylie Thibodeau-Harvey is a 26-year old competitive athlete and online entrepreneur. Her main focus is teaching people to think differently to improve the quality of their lives.
1) Can you share your ACL story?
I play ultimate frisbee and I tore my ACL running in towards the disc. It was a bad throw so I laid out in the opposite direction as the disc and at the same time someone stepped on my foot. I tore my ACL and I had 2 full meniscus tears. I am now 9.5 months post op and I am hoping to play in a frisbee tournament in a couple weeks.
2) What was the hardest part of the experience?
My background is in personal development so this is definitely an interesting experience for me. I know everything happens for a reason so the first thing that I had to do was accept the injury. I got the call from my doctor and he told me what happened. I cried for 5 minutes and then just accepted it and asked myself what can I do now? I joined ACL Facebook groups to ask for help and get advice, and help others in the community. I have met some amazing people through this journey. This was simply an experience. This was an experience that is in place to teach you many life lessons.
3) How did you stay motivated throughout the process?
I stayed motivated by staying focused on each small goal. I have a larger goal to go back and play, but it was important to stay focused on the small wins each and every day. It wasn't a state of being motivated - it was staying consistent with my daily activities. For any success in life, you have to do the things you don't feel like doing, and doing it consistently. There was never a night when I felt like doing my PT but I just knew I had to do it to get better. Focusing on the small wins helps you get through this process.
4) What advice would you give to other athletes on the road to recovery?
Advice I would give to others going through this process...
- Don't compare your chapter 1 to someone else's chapter 20. Comparison is the thief of joy. Everyone's experience is different and there is no one going through the exact recovery as you. Some people have just a torn ACL, other's have meniscus issues, PCL, LCL, patella issues. Everyone's surgeon is different so you have different protocols. Everyone's PT is different so you have different exercises unique to you. You have to stay in your own lane and focus on your individual journey.
- Focus on what you can do and not what you can't do. Trust the process. You will eventually get better with time and consistency. This process teaches you the importance of having faith and believing in something you can't see.
- Consistency is the key to success in anything in life. This process teaches you the power in being consistent in any area of your life. If you are consistent with your PT, you will see results. Keep going until then!
- Ask for help. This is a process that is important to ask for help when you need it. It is a humbling experience for sure. If you don't ask for help you will get frustrated quickly. Make sure you have someone to help you out the first couple months you are post op. I don't know what I would've done without help from you my sister or my boyfriend during that time.
- Listen to your body. You have to listen to your body, don't push yourself and do too much. This is a powerful lesson in life. When you are an athlete, you have to listen to your body or else you will hurt yourself. To take this a step forward, listen to your body and follow your intuition. Your intuition is so powerful. You know what you can and can't do - just listen to that still small voice inside and do what feels right.
- Be patient. Patience is a virtue.
- Be grateful. Focus on what you are grateful for every day. The more good you look for the more good you find.
- Be grateful for every step of this process. When you are focused on what you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. Write down every day your small victories and what you are grateful for. This helps you stay positive during the process. Growth comes when you get comfortable being uncomfortable. During PT I would use positive affirmations to get me through it.
- "Lean into discomfort"
- "Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better"
- "I can do this"
- "I am strong"
- "I am tough
- "I am powerful"
5) Do you think this experience changed you as a person?
This experience has changed all of these areas of my life.