pro spotlight

spotlight on pro athletes

Welcome to our motivational spotlight feature, where we will explore the experiences of professional athletes who have overcome serious sports injuries, yet continue to perform at the highest level.

Below you can find stories and interviews shared by some of the most inspiring professional athletes across the globe, who have opened up about their journey. We hope these stories will help inspire you to come back stronger than ever from your own recovery.


MAY 2019

INJURY: TORN ACL

Charlotte Lanning started her ballet training at the age of 10 at the Washington School of Ballet under the direction of Mary Day and Rebecca Wright. She then studied at the American Dance Institute on Scholarship. She received the Phillip Jerry Memorial Scholarship for summer study and was a finalist for three years in the Kennedy Centre Ballet Master Class Series.

She has performed in productions such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and The Sleeping Beauty.

Charlotte signed her first professional contract with the Colorado Ballet, making her goal a reality. Since then, she has danced all over the world, and could not imagine a life without dance.

In her feature, she takes us through her inspiring journey after facing a devastating injury in the prime of her dance career. Check out her feature here: Professional Dancer, Charlotte Lanning

Photo credit: Michael Seamans

Photo credit: Michael Seamans


CARRO DJUPSJO, PROFESSIONAL WAKEBOARDER

CARRO DJUPSJO, PROFESSIONAL WAKEBOARDER

JANUARY 2019

INJURY: TORN ACL & MENISCUS

Caroline “Carro” Djupsjö, 26 years old, is a professional wakeboarder from Sweden. The summer she turned 13, she spent every minute at the local waterski club; riding with her friends in the freezing waters of Sweden. After endless attempts, crashes, and headaches from the sport, she finally landed her first backroll and discovered the incredible adrenaline rush of wake boarding. Since that moment, she has not stopped following her passion for wakeboarding. With the support of her sponsors and the Swedish Wakeboard Federation, she is now incredibly grateful to be traveling the world competing and doing what she loves.

In 2014, she was named European Female Wakeboard Athlete of the Year and has been competing internationally since 2008. Prior to tearing her ACL in 2016, she placed 1st in the Battle of the Backyard race in Sweden. After tearing her ACL, she trained hard in rehab and made an incredible comeback, winning 1st place in the US Open of Cable Wakeboarding in Dallas, Texas.

To help other athletes, she opens up to XCLevation about her ACL recovery experience, and advice for the road to recovery. View feature


TOM BREESE, UFC FIGHTER - MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION

TOM BREESE, UFC FIGHTER - MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION

DECEMBER 2018

INJURY: TORN ACL & MENISCUS

Tom Breese, from Birmingham, England, is a professional MMA fighter currently fighting in the UFC’s middleweight division. His professional record is 11-1 and he is also a Blackbelt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Not too long ago, Breese was the most talked about prospect from the UK.

Some athletes love the fame game - but for Breese, one of the most humble MMA fighters, he loves the technical side of MMA and the thrill of competing. He shared that while recovering from his ACL and meniscus injury, he was always searching for inspiring comebacks to motivate himself.

To help inspire other athletes in the XCLevation community, he opens up about his ACL recovery experience, and advice for the road to recovery. View feature


J-S ROY, EDMONTON ESKIMOS - CFL

J-S ROY, EDMONTON ESKIMOS - CFL

DECEMBER 2018

INJURY: TORN ACL

Offensive lineman, Jean-Simon Roy (also known as J-S Roy), first started playing football at the age of 12 at his highschool, Séminaire Saint-François in Quebec. During the summer of 2012, he was selected to represent Team Canada in the World Junior Championship in Austin, Texas. They beat Team USA in the final game to be declared World Champions. He played college football at Laval University in Canada, and won two national titles in only four years. He was also named on the first All-Canadian Team in 2016 and was drafted that same year in the second round of the CFL (Canadian Football League) Draft by the Edmonton Eskimos. In 2017, he tore his ACL and missed the remainder of the season - however he has made a full recovery and is back!

Not only is he a CFL player, but he is also the Founder of CampNextGen, an organization focused on developing young football players. Check out his interview with XCLevation as he shares his ACL tear experience and advice for recovery.


RUSS WESTBROOK, OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

RUSS WESTBROOK, OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

NOVEMBER 2018

INJURY: TORN meniscus

“Our next feature will shine the spotlight on Russell Westbrook, a ferocious competitor and one of the most explosive athletes we’ve ever seen.”

BEFORE THE INJURY

Russ has always been one of the most controversial athletes in sports, and I believe he gets unfairly criticized for a lot of things that people just misunderstand. What’s impossible to argue is the he is truly an athletic marvel with a generational heart and motor – someone who will go 110% whether it’s the 4th quarter of game 7 of a playoff series or the first game of the season. Read more


TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER

TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER

NOVEMBER 2018

INJURY: TORN ACL

“Our next feature will shine the spotlight on Tiger Woods, one of, if not the greatest golfer of all time.”

BEFORE THE INJURY

You all know Big Cat. The definitive golfer of the 1990s and early 2000s, Woods took the sport by storm and unleashed a new edge on the game through his cold, calculated dominance. Prior to rupturing his ACL, Woods already had 13 majors under his belt and had already positioned himself as a part of the conversation as the greatest of all time.
Read more


DANIELLE BROWN, BALLERINA

DANIELLE BROWN, BALLERINA

OCTOBER 2018 - Danielle Brown, professional ballet dancer

INJURY: TORN ACL

Danielle Brown dedicated her life to becoming a professional ballerina, and had been training since she was a young child. During the eleventh season that she was with the ballet company, her life took an unexpected turn when she tore her ACL. She was 31-years old, in the prime of year of her career.

Be prepared to be inspired as she shares her story and details of her experience through the recovery season. She also opens up about how the experience impacted her and changed her perspective and mindset.

View her feature here: Falling with Grace - Professional Ballerina, Danielle Brown


MATT POLAND, SPORTING KRISTINA

MATT POLAND, SPORTING KRISTINA

OCTOBER 2018 - matt poland, professional soccer player

INJURY: TORN ACL

Matt Poland has been a professional soccer player for the past 4 years. Prior to tearing his ACL and meniscus, he played for Sporting Kristina in Finland in 2018 and 2015. In 2016-2017, he played for Savsjo FF in Sweden. He graduated from Taylor University in Indiana where he played varsity soccer prior to moving to Scandinavia (Sweden and Finland).

We will be following him through his recovery towards a comeback and sharing his journey with you here.

Watch Episode 1-2 of his journey and check out his interview here: Featured Interview + Video: Matt Poland


Stay tuned for Episode 3 of Matt Poland’s recovery journey coming soon.


ONTON SEE, PROFESSIONAL DANCER

ONTON SEE, PROFESSIONAL DANCER

OCTOBER 2018 - onton see, professional dancer

Onton See trained in martial arts since the age of eight, and started dancing at the age of 19. In 2007, he joined the dance crew, Supernaturalz, and since then, he has won World Championship titles, competed internationally, and represented Canada on multiple occasions.

He is world-renowned for his flow, complexity and well rounded dynamic style. He is also actively involved in community youth outreach programs and hopes to inspire many generations to come. He has battled through countless injuries throughout his career as a breakdancer including knee injuries, sprained wrists, fractured ankles, bursitis, sprained fingers, and jammed toes. Nonetheless, he has not given up on his passion.

View his feature here: Featured Interview + Video: Onton See


KYLE SCHWARBER, CHICAGO CUBS

KYLE SCHWARBER, CHICAGO CUBS

OCTOBER 2018 - WEEK 4

INJURY: Torn ACL

"Our next feature will shine the spotlight on Kyle Schwarber, left fielder and former catcher for the Chicago Cubs.

BEFORE THE INJURY

The Cubs took Kyle Schwarber 4 th overall in the 2014 draft, and many considered him to be a polished hitter capable of contributing in the big leagues right away. He was part of a young, promising core of Cubs that were being tasked with the mission of breaking a 108-year championship drought.” Read more


ADRIAN PETERSON, WASHINGTON REDSKINS

ADRIAN PETERSON, WASHINGTON REDSKINS

OCTOBER 2018 - WEEK 3

INJURY: TORN ACL

Our next feature will shine the spotlight on Adrian Peterson, one of only 7 running backs to eclipse 2000 yards rushing in a season.  

BEFORE THE INJURY

After a star-studded college career at Oklahoma University, Adrian Peterson came crashing into the NFL in 2007 as the 7th overall pick. Appropriately nicknamed “All Day” by his father because of his endurance and energy, he took the league by storm and immediately established himself as one of the most productive backs in the league.” Read more


OG ANUNOBY, TORONTO RAPTORS

OG ANUNOBY, TORONTO RAPTORS

OCTOBER 2018 - WEEK 2

INJURY: TORN ACL

Our feature this week will be on a young up and comer with a ton of potential who not too long ago had a ton of question marks due to an ACL tear in college, the Toronto Raptors’ OG Anunoby.

BEFORE THE INJURY

For most basketball players, getting selected at #23 overall in the first round of the NBA draft would be a dream come true but for OG Anunoby, it was not where he expected to be at all when he began his 2016 NCAA season at Indiana.” Read more


TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

TOM BRADY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

OCTober 2018 - WEEK 1

INJURY: TORN ACL

Our first feature will be a guy that everyone knows all about, the New England Patriots’ ageless wonder, Tom Brady.

BEFORE THE INJURY

Tom Terrific was already well on his way to a Hall of Fame career prior to the 2007 season, with 3 Super Bowl rings under his belt and a reputation as a big game quarterback but the argument was that he was a game manager for a stacked team, someone who just wasn’t asked to do too much because it wasn’t needed…Read more