perspectives - december 2018
the journey from a mom’s perspective
For those of you who have seen Cameron’s comeback story, you may recall that he is the young boy from Massachusetts who tore his ACL at the age of 9, and went on to win the Eastern Massachusetts championship.
There is no doubt that his mother was a key role in his recovery - putting her life on hold to focus on her son. For seven months straight, three times a day, she spent a great deal of time trying to help Cameron regain full flexion in his knee. Even two years post-op, she continues to be a huge part of his athletic journey.
In the following feature, she shares her experience on the road to recovery - both the good and the bad. She also shares some words for the parents in the XCLevation Community.
ATHLETE: CAMERON BROSNIHAN
MOTHER: Teresa Brosnihan
"At the young age of 9, my son Cameron tore his ACL playing football. This journey is not only a struggle for the impacted child, but also for the entire family. As a mom, your job from birth is to keep your child safe and healthy.
No one can prepare you for the rollercoaster of emotions that will come with this injury. I’d like to share just a few things I learned along the way; both the good and the bad.
During the first 3 months post-op, Cameron was doing physical therapy twice a week. My husband and I didn’t feel as if he was being challenged and progressing in rehab and he wanted to change rehab clinics, but I wanted to stay there. We did not see eye-to-eye, and this caused a great deal of stress and tension in the home. The therapist was a wonderful person and had grown to know Cameron from day 1, but my gut feeling was that my husband was right. So we did visit and speak with another therapist, who was skilled in working with children who have torn their ACL. Physiotherapists often have different specializations, and it is important to find a physiotherapist with a lot of experience rehabilitating ACL injured athletes. At month three, we switched therapists. In hindsight, that was the best decision we had made as Cameron began to make great progress. Always follow your gut.
Generally speaking, I have a thick skin and don’t cry much. Throughout this journey, I cried a lot. I cried watching my son struggle. I cried in frustration. I cried for the unknowns. I did not sleep well at night. I worried all the time. I was anxious and certainly overwhelmed too. But there was one thing that I knew for certain and that one thing was that I would do anything humanly possible to get Cameron back to playing the sports he loved so much. I felt as if no other mom could understand the daily struggles I was facing and to this day, I find that still to be the truth. That is one reason why I love the ACL communities, as the other moms can truly understand my struggles and emotions.
I put my own life on hold for Cameron, as any mom would do. I stopped working out and doing the things that I enjoyed doing in my spare time. My sole purpose in life, during that time, was to get him to PT, now up to 3 times a week, and to make sure he was focused on his PT at home daily. I worked on bending his leg 3 times a day for 7 months straight to get him back to full flexion. Looking back, this was not a wise choice, nor a healthy one. Moms need their outlets too and exercise is certainly one of them, but I was so focused on Cameron and his recovery. You somehow need to make time for yourself as well as caring for your injured child.
Cameron also has a younger sister who was 7 at the time of the injury. What an amazing sister he has! Although she annoyed him as she tried to do exercises with him, she was always there! She often took a back seat to him. Our focus was Cameron and getting him better. Deep inside I believe she knew how serious of an injury this was and she just wanted her brother to be healthy again too! Believe me, she still played her sports, had playdates and had her own fun, but it was always Cameron’s needs first and then her’s. As a mother you have guilt giving more attention to one sibling over another, but the whole family had a goal to get him better, including his little sister. There is a balancing act with siblings and maybe I could have done better, but I did the best that I could do at the time of despair.
My final words of advice are:
If you find the best surgeon and the best physical therapist and you do the hard work, you will prevail and get better. The entire family must trust the process and the professionals that you chose. You will certainly all have ups and downs along this long road, but that is to be expected.
Life in general is very difficult and unfair at times with lots of twists and turns. This is just a big bump in the road that you all will overcome. The road will be smooth again soon!”
Cameron is now 11 years old, 2 years post-op, and is doing fantastic! His mother continues to “count the post-op years” and "celebrate his “knee anniversary”. She is absolutely thrilled to celebrate Cameron’s success after all that they have been through. Although her children are brave ACL warriors, there is no doubt that “mama bears” are a crucial part in their recovery as well.
Be sure to check out Cameron’s comeback story as well as an update on his comeback success! View comeback feature
Thank you Teresa for sharing your story and experience with athletes across the globe recovering from injury!