Throughout my many recoveries from various injuries, I was sent countless motivational quotes by my parents. Admittedly, most went in one ear and out the other, but one particular quote stuck with me: “May you always enjoy the road, especially when it’s a hard one.” It’s a Kobe Bryant quote, and I’m not quite sure why this specific quote stuck with me, but it did.
Injuries are often looked at as physical recovery, but they are much more than that. Unfortunately, the mental aspect of injuries is frequently overlooked and rarely discussed. For me, sports were everything: all that I did revolved around sports. As a result, when I first tore my ACL, it was difficult to grapple with. I didn’t have any other hobbies or other ways to preoccupy myself. Nevertheless, I worked hard in PT and did everything possible to return to the field. Eventually, I was able to. Yet, only a few months later, I found myself back on the surgery table for round two: I had torn my ACL again. This one was much harder mentally– I kept wondering why this had happened to me. Unfortunately, focusing on the negatives only made things worse for me. It took me a while, but I eventually took a step back and looked at my situation from a different perspective.
Having torn my ACL twice, I had to give up on my dream of being recruited to play lacrosse in college. It was not an easy realization to live with. However, once I did, I could finally find passions I had never previously discovered. For example, one of my favorite new hobbies was photography. I enjoyed every chance I got to take photos of my teammates from the sideline and learn techniques from my friends. In addition, there were a lot of other, smaller things I hadn’t realized I enjoyed before my injury, like building Legos. So, to return to the quote, yes, my injuries sucked, and I hope no one has to go through what I did. Yet, if you can separate yourself for a second from negative thoughts and take a different approach, you will be able to “enjoy the road” even when it is challenging.