Me and my ACL

Most of you know (some of you in excruciating detail) that I destroyed my left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a rugby match November 2. After many delays, some interesting physical therapy, and lots of ice and ibuprofen, I will be having ACL reconstruction surgery February 3.

So what does this involve? This site offers a good overview. For the non-squeamish, this site offers even more detail and some lovely photos.

I’m pretty cool with all this, with exception of two words: “bone screws.” Not only does that sound like medieval torture, I’m not looking forward to setting off airport metal detectors for the rest of my life.

My surgery will be a bit less involved than what is described above as I have opted for an allograft vs. an autograft– the replacement ligament will come from a cadaver donor instead of being harvested from my patellar or quads tendon or hamstring. Virtually everyone I have talked to who has had the surgery said they would do this is they had the chance again, as the harvest site was more painful and problematic than the actual reconstruction.

This is not just because I’m a wimp– though I am all for avoiding pain. The allograft should allow me to get back to normal day-to-day activities sooner. And as for my favorite abnormal activity, my surgeon and I wanted to avoid the inevitable weakening that any autograft would have inflicted on the harvest site. Given that I play lock, I need all the explosive strength I can get.

So when will I be on the field with the men of Quake again? I am looking at 8-9 months post-op before I can play, with a return to some aspects of training with my mates within 6 months. So I am holding out hope that I might be on the pitch at least a little in the 2003 Fall friendly season. That’s my goal, damn all the people who think I’m crazy for playing again. Quitting is not an option.