So after getting my hopes up before my last doctors appointment, I once again find myself (naively) getting my hopes up. People live normal lives without an ACL all the time. They just usually aren’t gymnasts. Although apparently there is a girl that competes all-around for Oklahoma or some school like that, and she has no ACL. What a psycho?
But seriously. I’ve already pointed out how much mobility and control I feel like I have in my knee. And I only want to compete one event: bars. So why wouldn’t I be able to just do a few board mounts to the high bar and a dismount every once in awhile. Put me in a brace, tape me up—I think I can do it.
Obviously my coaches are all for that idea. After all, I worked so hard all year and all summer. I improved so much, I just want a chance to show what I can do. But then I think about the reality of doing gymnastics without an ACL, and it’s a little scary.
In my opinion, being ACL deficient would not have too many short term risks. My trainer said that the “action” braces are good enough that they would protect me from completely blowing out my knee or something. Which is definitely something I would like to avoid. What it may not be able to prevent is the damage to my meniscus. Sometimes you can fix a damaged meniscus, but sometimes you just have to cut it out. So I’m looking at potential for some serious arthritis in the (not so distant) future.
I have some friends that don’t really approve of this “ACL deficient” plan. Even if I do compete bars this season, I would get the ACL surgery after season. But 10 weeks is a long time for things to go wrong. Some are concerned that I’m maybe doing it for the wrong reasons, or that it’s just flat out not the best idea for ME and my body. I’m thankful that today my friend told me that while I can hope for the best, I need to be prepared for the worst. So she asked me, if I was faced with the worst case scenario, would I regret my decision to compete? To be honest, I don’t know if I would or would not. I had been looking at the whole situation with the mindset that I would probably be just fine—and if I wasn’t, they could probably just fix it when I get the surgery in the spring. But if it’s something that can’t be fixed so simply, it scares me a little bit more.
Still. Even with these risks and fears, I know what I want (at this moment). I want to compete a year without the ACL. I want to train just bars, and I want to get the surgery in the spring. I have all the confidence in the world in my body and my knee. Maybe even too much… Either way, it’s not my decision at the moment. I still have to get the “plan” approved by the doctor(s). One day at a time.