Martin Krampelj is an NCAA college basketball forward at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2013, he tore his left ACL in a tournament in France. Then in the 2015-16 season, he tore his right ACL during practice when he got tangled with Zach Hanson. In 2018, he tore his left ACL once again after landing on his teammate’s foot. Despite 3 devastating ACL tears, Krampelj refuses to give up his love for the game of basketball, and is one of the rare elite athletes to make such an extraordinary comeback. He thanks his recovery team (see below) for helping him get back to the court feeling stronger than ever.
FOLLOW HIM ON IG: @krampeljm
Q&A with Martin Krampelj
1. Can you share thoughts on coming back after three ACL tears?
An ACL tear is an injury that no one wants to deal with. But there are things we can control, and right now, I’m talking about our attitude. If your attitude and motivation are high, that will help you go through other tough times in life because it shows what kind of person you are and how you deal with pain in difficult times.
2. How was the recovery experience for each of the 3 surgeries?
For the three surgeries, they used a patella tendon and two hamstring grafts. Every single one of them was very hard from a physical as well as mental standpoint. Some may think that the recovery from each surgery would have been easier, because you know what’s coming, but I think it just gets harder every time. The hardest part of recovery for me was watching others play basketball while I was on the sidelines doing exercises.
3. How did you stay motivated during the recovery period?
Motivation is definitely a big part of the recovery. One can have all resources available, but if there’s no intrinsic motivation, the results aren’t going to be what one is expecting it to be. I looked up to other athletes coming back from injuries like mine and find them very motivational. Whenever they posted pictures of their progress, they would always include a quote underneath. I looked up some quotes and put them on my wall, on my phone screensaver, or somewhere where they can remind me of what’s important.
4. What advice would you give to other athletes recovering from ACL injuries?
I think that one of the best pieces of advice for someone who tears an ACL is to surround yourself with positive people, such as family and friends, that will help you go through those tough times and keep you motivated and positive.
5. Some athletes believe that they come back stronger after an ACL recovery. What are your thoughts on that, and how are you feeling at this point?
I think that is the case after every ACL tear I have had. I came back stronger and more athletic than before, which doesn’t always make sense; but hard work and achieving your goal will get everyone where they want to be. My knee is feeling great. It was a long 9 months of recovery, but I’m back on the court doing what I love most - playing basketball.
Thank you Martin, for taking the time to share your experiences and advice, to inspire athletes across the globe recovering from ACL injuries.
special thanks to key players in martin’s recovery:
Dr. David Brown, SURGEON
BEN MCNAIR, athletic trainer
terry grindstaff, physical therapist
dan bailey, strength coach
eriKA KRAMPELJ, SISTER/PHYSICAL THERAPIST