How an ACL injury changed my life...
“If I Can Walk”
I know what you’re thinking, how could an ACL injury change your life? Some studies show (because of new medical advances) ACL surgeries can make the patient stronger than they were before. So, what’s so special about my surgery and how did it change my outlook, take a look —
My life has been moving at 100+ mph since I graduated high school in 2012. I literally ran off the stage to hug my parents, sprinted to college orientation, and in four, short years had a phenomenal college experience (which also allowed me to fall back in love with the game of basketball).
Following college graduation, I took a month off and bolted to my first job. Shout out Griffin Bros for the incredible opportunity and the chance to launch a business (ZoomUp) with them during my time. Also, super thankful for them for keeping my insurance alive as I #Couchella’d it across the US during the month of March 2019.
Most of you know the rest of the story. I tore my ACL, meniscus, and sprained my MCL on April 1, 2019. That day still brings back so many memories. Devastation. Anger. Confusion. Pain. Swelling, lots of swelling. Prayer, way more prayer. Tears. And the unforgettable, denial that nothing was wrong.
I’ve told my friends, there are a lot of things in this life that we should all have to experience, ACL surgery is not one of those. The first few weeks were some of the most humbling weeks of my entire life. My parents were lifesavers. They made the surgery and recovery process a million times easier and made me laugh when I wanted to cry. Well, other than the one and only time they made me shower… I wanted to kill them.
With a repaired meniscus, I wasn’t allowed to walk for four weeks! FOUR WEEKS! This was the first time in my life where I wasn’t on a basketball court, or some other activity for FOUR WEEKS. Humbled and changed forever because of an ACL, something I wouldn’t have planned or imagined, but I made it.
During the four weeks (non-weight bearing period), I just kept wondering what I would do “If I could walk.” I told my Mom, “I really just want to be able to walk outside and lay in the grass” or “I wish I could just take a normal shower” or “I wish I could clear off the table for yall.” So many things I wanted to do but couldn’t. BUT, “If I could walk, I would.” Btw, my mama would always reply with, “tell me what you CAN do Austin, not what you can’t.”
I’m sitting here today, June 18, it’s my 25th birthday and looking back on how crazy this past year has been. I went to new countries, met awesome people, took an entrepreneurial leap, nearly flipped my Jeep in Utah, drove across the US solo, sold that Jeep, RIP my knee, and published my second book (check it here).24 was a great year. One that I barely believe happened, and barely survived.
As I look forward to what’s next, the uncertainty of my career, life and lots of other things, I go remember asking myself that question… “If I can walk, what would I do?”
After the four-week mark (now on week 10), I started to learn how to walk again. I’m not perfect yet, but I’m getting there. My leg isn’t as strong as it used to be, but I’m told by my peeps at Gregg Ott PT and my man Shawn (my PT), that’ll it will come back.
Walking allowed me to move back to Charlotte, it allowed me to walk down the aisle at my best friends’ wedding, and it’s allowing me to say yes more often. If I can walk, I can do a lot of things. I can be more like myself; I can clear the table when I go home for mama’s cooking, and I can walk one step closer to what the Good Lord has planned for my life. Oh yeah, and if I can walk, someday soon, I’ll be moving at 99+ mph and running on the nearest basketball court.
Here’s to living more “Oh My’s” at 25!
Just a kid,
PS. Special shout out to my friends, family, and anyone else that helped me along the way with my ACL. The little things made a huge difference in my life and I’ll be forever grateful.
Pictured above: Me when I hear Old Town Road