I have been holding out on announcing the good news, but I can’t hold out any longer! I am officially 7 days into my release to play rugby again! I had my last visit with the surgeon, PT and then did some functional testing yesterday so I could get a baseline of where I am exactly.
*Aren’t baby turtles so cute? I imagine them when I think about being released to test the dark, deep world of rugby (ocean) again! So much possibility but a small amount of fear as well!
The surgeon remarked over and over how I have been ahead of the curve the whole time and that he was so impressed with my work ethic and motivation that he couldn’t hold me back anymore. So he gave me my initial release last week, but said that if I failed the functional testing that we would have to talk about taking back the release.
So yesterday I went over to Sportscenter here in Austin and did some pretty intensive testing to see how strong the knee and surrounding muscles are. The testing started with the typical measurements where they make sure you have the same flexion as the good knee and I matched perfectly on that. Then she did the drawer test where they basically yank on the ACL to see if it tears out of place, always uncomfortable…but the knee stayed in place!
Then we moved out into the gym where she tested my hip strength, quad, hamstring and general fitness. The hip strength is important because they are what keeps the knee and thigh in line if a blow does occur…if you have weak hips you are not as protected as you could be. For the quad and hamstring tests I did a simple stress test where you do squats with an assisted machine and the weight starts out at 55 and then goes down by 10 pounds. The idea here is to stress the muscles surrounding the knee as you are trying to asses at what point the fatigue of the muscles kick in. 5 reps on each leg (including the good knee) and the weight goes down 10pds each time.
She was surprised at how well I did on this test as I made it down to the 10 pd plate and was almost able to do that last set but my squat form was fading and it was getting dangerous to continue. I feel like I could have mustered that last set of 3, but thought I had better listen to the professional. After this she put me on the treadmill and had me warm up for a few minutes, and then made me do a hard run for four minutes. Again this is a small stress test where I have just done a ton of squats and am required to run…when will the fatigue kick in? She said that my stride was strong and even and I made it the four minutes, so that was excellent.
So I passed 9 of the 10 tests that I was put through (you fail if you do not pass 5 of 10 tests) and so that is remarkable progress!! She gave me some really great tips of strengthening my hips (yea failed that test!) and gave me some great advice on weight training and the ACL joint in general. Overall I have a great baseline to work with and got some great advice from a true professional.
Note: Technically I failed three tests, but the other two were minimal fails. The PT spent hardly any time covering those issues as I was like a point from passing, so the PT and I considered those “passes” as well.
So I will be at West NASCs as a senior side player but have already been told by my coach to expect very little playing time as I am just coming off a major injury. I will also be attending NASCs as an athletic trainer for the West U23 teams, so look for blogs about the West teams next week.
This weekend I will be making my 2008 rugby debut at the Dallas 7s Debutante Ball Tournament in Ft. Worth, TX. Look foward to pictures, maybe video and thoughts on my debut next week as well.
For a quick review of my ACL injury, surgery, recovery, PT and more ACL talk than you can imagine, check out these posts that chronicle the past 5 months:
12/10/2007: Christmas Party, Oklahoma & my Anterior Cruciate Ligament
12/28/2007: My Offseason and the New Year
1/6/2008: Down for a few days…
1/18/2008: Doc Appt, Physical Therapy and Bruising…
2/14/2008: Maxing it Out
2/25/2008: ACL Update (*released to jog!)
4/1/2008: A Wendy Update
4/25/2008: Two STRONG Knees, what you got?
Karl Ohlsen also sent me this article about women athletes and ACL injuries, long article but totally worth the read! Thanks for passing that article on Karl, I read every word!