As I pull up for a big right foot step, CRACK!!!
I’m on the ground looking at my right knee, déjà vu hits – I know straight away that my ACL has gone. I had done the exact same thing to my left leg in 2010 trying, to pull off a big left step. The pain was exactly how I remembered it, a feeling that I think will stay with me forever.
The possibility of being out for another 6 months was haunting me. Our physio gave me a small ray of hope in his initial assessment saying it could perhaps just be my meniscus, but deep down, my gut instinct told me otherwise and I was right. After a sleepless night, an MRI the next day confirmed it was a full ACL rupture and a torn lateral meniscus.
This time around, the timing genuinely couldn’t have been worse! I was trying to get in form for rugby, to try put myself in contention for Sale Sharks and Manu Samoa Autumn test matches. My contract at Sharks was due for renewal at the end of the season, whilst my wife was due to have our 5th child in around 6 weeks. She could barely touch her toes at this point, yet she now had to do everything around the house and look after our 4 lively children.
We also had an offer accepted on a house, but we pulled out, because the sudden uncertainty of my career meant it was too risky.
To add a bit more salt to the wound, I couldn’t drive either! Lucky for me I have good team mates who helped by picking me up and dropping me off before and after training.
Just when you think you are one up on life, its pulls out a back pocket trick to keep you on your toes.
My thought process for my next 3 years has hit a speed bump. My plans of trying to play for one more season at Sale and then simmer into the real world (as us rugby players would call it) by working a normal job and playing rugby on the side were now sidelined.
Thoughts of retiring had played on my mind before, but the hunger to play was and is still there.
I will get the rehab done and see what happens after that. I am a firm believer that there is always good in every bad situation. I have made a come back from the first one and I intend on the same this time round. So, It’s life back in the graft lane for Uncle John.
What is an ACL Injury?
An ACL injury is the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament, one of the major ligaments in your knee. ACL injuries most commonly occur during sports that involve sudden stops, jumping or changes in direction.