perspectives - OCTOBER 2018
motivated to become a better coach + player
athlete: chelsea cornish
Did you know women are several times more likely to tear their ACL than men?
Growing up, I had a soccer ball constantly at my feet. I absolutely fell in love with the game and wanted to keep learning and practicing.
I played all through high school and on a cup team in Pittsburgh, PA. While playing throughout the years, I've had six teammates tear their ACL's! Once I decided to stay local for college, I was offered to coach young girls. Fast forward four years and I'm coaching 3 cup teams and even a middle school team.
When I'm not coaching, I still love to play in recreational games for fun. All summer, I played in a league with my friends until the last 2 minutes of the last game. I was defending a guy when my cleat got stuck as I tried to pivot and change direction quickly. I wasn't sure exactly what I did but I do know that I could not walk.
About a week later, I went to the orthopaedics and got an MRI. I got the news no athlete wants to hear. Those three words... ACL. My orthopedic said I tore my ACL completely, tore my meniscus and to put the icing on the cake, I fractured part of my tibia.
Now the only problem was that my fall season for my four teams was starting. I was told to stay on crutches for a few weeks to let my fracture heal. However, I did my best to get to every practice and continue coaching. It was definitely painful and there were several nights I couldn't sleep without ice on my knee. Even knowing I had two months, I wanted to wait until the majority of the season was over. Coaching is my absolute passion and I did not want to miss anything!
I just had my surgery a week ago. My orthopaedic said my meniscus was actually intact and healed, however my ACL was completely smashed and shifted in my knee which is why it was so hard to walk.
As I am sitting here with an ice machine on my knee (best invention ever), I am eager to recover and get started on what steps I need to do in order to get back on the field both coaching and playing.
This experience has not been easy but it did challenge me in ways I never knew I needed. As I coached, I no longer had the ability to demonstrate to the players. I had to try to explain as best as I could and really break methods down. I will continue to be very descriptive even when I'll be able to lead my team again. Another silver lining included in my journey is that I have learned so much about how the knee operates and maneuvers. It has really helped me understand the precautions that should be taken by all athletes. I look forward to using this knowledge to help the players I coach have a better understanding of injury prevention.
My ACL injury definitely slowed my life down temporarily but it has helped teach me how to become a better coach and better player!