FEATURED STORY: Laura Martinez

October 20, 2018

athlete - laura martinez2.jpg

Laura has 7 years behind her after the first time she injured her knee in 2010 during a basketball game. Her knee recovery journey has lasted long having had two knee surgeries and extensive rehab periods whilst wearing a DonJoy knee brace and playing basketball sporadically whenever she was able to. After a successful ACL reconstruction surgery in 2017, she is finally back and feeling like herself again.

athlete - laura martinez 3.jpg

“I loved basketball. I loved running and all exercise. When most of my school classmates hated school PE, I loved it. A lot of love all-around sports, and unfortunately my view towards all of it changed the day I hurt my knee for the first time.

I started playing basketball when I was 11 years old. I remember seeing a leaflet on a notice board in our neighbourhood and thought to myself that basketball might just be the right sport for me. At 15 I already captained a junior league team and played in the local women’s league team, worked as an assistant coach, started refereeing and led the club’s summer camp. Needless to say that I was very much lost in the sport.

After my first knee injury in 2010, I had to go through some minor ligament repair surgery. I bounced back fairly quickly and went back my local basketball club and continued playing. Unfortunately I ended up hurting my knee again in 2014, leaving me with a torn ACL ligament. I was offered surgery, but as I was living alone at the time and had a dog and a job to attend to, I didn’t see any way around it and decided to invest in a Donjoy -knee brace instead of going through surgery. The brace worked well and provided me with the support that I needed in order to play basketball.

I continued playing and refereeing while wearing the knee brace, which made me very aware of the fact that my knee was far away from being alright. That thought was stuck in my head all the way until 2016 when I was accepted to play in Newcastle University. Shortly after attending a few practise sessions, I ended up completely tearing my ACL. All it took was a quick turn during defensive drills and I was on the floor crying; not from pain, but because I knew the day had finally come and it was time for knee surgery, again.

athlete - laura martinez 4.jpg

After my ACL reconstruction, I was able to regain my strength fairly quickly, but this time I wanted to do everything by the book. I decided that I wouldn’t dream of basketball anymore and that I would focus on getting better no matter how much time it took. Six months after my surgery, I started taking small steps towards running again and when my doctor gave me the all clear this February, I cried, but this time because of the bittersweet time it had taken me to get back to who I was before all of my injuries.

I decided there and then that I needed to set myself a new goal which would support my knee recovery in the best possible way while getting back to sports. I decided that my new goal would be a half marathon, and that I would give myself six months to train for it, which was a reasonable amount after bouncing back from the knee surgery.

Six months is now behind me and I have just recently finished the Great North Run 2018! After all the workouts at the gym, running drills on the road and continuous physiotherapy, I finally feel like ME again! Doing sports has always played a big part of my self-identity and how I felt about myself, so now I take part in weekly races around London, go for the occasional basketball shoot around and most importantly, I’m past the point where I wonder daily if my knee will hold up or not. I’ve now done a couple half marathons, and I have the feeling that there is plenty more to come. I’ve never entirely given up hope of going back to playing basketball, but for now I’ll be focusing on other exciting personal sports goals and see where that takes me.”


Follow her comeback story on Instagram: @gamajola