Connecting a Community

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Welcome to theACLclub

Over my career as a soccer player, I have constantly been challenged with different obstacles. What athlete hasn't? You don’t become a professional without having to climb mountains in the process. The toughest part were the injuries that took years of time to get back from and, consequently, years off my career.

What I have learned throughout everything is I found something I am passionate about, helping others. After I tore my ACL for the 3rd time on my left knee, I knew there was a reason I was chosen to go through all of this. Maybe it was to show the world that it was possible to get back to the highest level after such a grueling road, but I also think it was to use my experience to help those who are now having to go through this process.

I honestly don’t think I would be the same person I am today if I never tore my ACL on that May 10th afternoon. Or April 27th. Or April 9th. Those days helped me grow. They helped me persevere. They helped me gain perspective on what is important to me.

In the years in-between, I have offered my voice and knowledge to people I know and acquaintances who need help navigating the area of “what do I do now that I tore my ACL?” That is where the wheels in my head really got turning…

How do I help more people get through this process? How do I help pass on the knowledge and insights that is only known by those who have "been there, done that" to the people who have just torn their ACL? How do I make these people feel like they are part of something bigger then themselves and supported/connected to a community who have the scars to show how hard they worked to get where they are?

Like most people who have torn their ACL, that day burns itself into your memory. You can feel what the day felt like, how you spent nearly every hour of the day, what you felt, and what was said to you by the people who surrounded you with support and love. I will never forget laying on my couch that evening, leg elevated and numbed by ice, when my teammate Tina Estrada came to visit. She was a phenomenal player, quick, smart, and scored goals like nothing I had ever seen. But she is an even better person who's young career included two ACL rehabs. She sat next to me on the couch that evening and said:

“Well kid, welcome to the club.”

Not really knowing how to react, I cried knowing I had a long road ahead of me. Little did I know that this club is one of the most supportive groups an athlete could ever be a part of.

What she expressed to me that day in those small 6 words has stuck with me because I have continued to see how this invisible fraternity of people, all affected by the same injury, relies so much on one another. Once you have paid the costly price of initiation, you will forever be changed and a part of a community who gets each other.

So the day is here…I have been working, and will continue to work and grow, on my new website:



I want it to be a space where people feel a part of a community, a special group that they didn’t decide to join, but life chose them to join. To be a place where people who already went through the process can direct people who are just starting as a jumping off point. Where "Scar Stories" are shared and people from near and far find inspiration in one another. 

Here’s where I need your help: I am trying to build a database of good surgeons and physical therapists around the country. People who have helped you get back to full recovery. There is an email link at the bottom of the website, I would love to know about who you worked with and promote them on the website.

So…check out the site. Share with anyone and everyone you know who would be of interest. Connect with us via twitter and instagram. Email any suggestions or additions you would like to see to theACLclub@gmail.com. Buy a tishirt and wear it with pride. I am proud to have the scars I do, and I hope if you are marked with them, you feel the same way too. 

Welcome to the Club - the ACL club

#welcometotheclub

#showyourscars

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