I had been fortunate to never have suffered a serious injury from playing soccer until my senior year of college. On October 1, 2015, in one of the final games of the season, I was slide tackled from the side and my left leg got caught between the other player’s legs. As we both fell to the ground I felt a slight popping and tearing in my knee. My knee swelled up almost immediately and I could barely walk for a couple days. Unfortunately, my injury was not diagnosed as an ACL injury as there were few signs that it was torn. Because the trainers did not think that it was a serious injury, I finished the season and started playing indoor soccer after the season was over.
It was during this time that I realized that my injury might be more serious than I had thought at first. This thought was confirmed when my knee completely gave out while I was playing defense against an opponent in December. I again felt something tear in my knee, but this time the pain was much more intense. It was probably the worst pain that I have felt in my life so far. Within the next few days, my trainers and I set up an appointment with Jason Koelewyn, MD at Sioux Center Health to get my knee checked out. I had had good experiences with Sioux Center Health in the past, so I knew that I would be in capable hands. I got an MRI scan on December 30, which confirmed that I had completely torn my ACL. From there, we decided that the best way to move forward was for me to have my ACL surgically repaired.
On January 26, 2016, I underwent ACL surgery at Sioux Center Health. Brian Johnson, MD was the surgeon who used a piece of my hamstring tendon to repair my ACL. Dr. Johnson was very considerate and helpful during the entire process. Besides being the one to perform the surgery, he also made sure to inform me about everything that would take place and to answer any questions that I might have had for him. Several days after my surgery, Dr. Johnson called me to make sure I was doing alright and if I had any further questions for him, he would be willing to answer them. In all of my follow-up appointments, Dr. Johnson was very friendly and made sure that I had all the information I needed in order to successfully start and complete my rehabilitation process.
Since I lived on campus at Dordt College at that time, I chose to do my rehabilitation with the athletic trainers on campus. This was the most convenient location for me since the Rec Center was so close to my apartment building. I knew that I would have to stay disciplined and dedicated in my therapy if I wanted to play soccer at a reasonable competitive level again. I worked hard through all of it, and my effort eventually paid off. Dr. Johnson cleared me to play soccer again on July 11, and I have not had any problems thus far. Even though I have to wear a knee brace every time that I play, it has not hindered my ability to play soccer. Most of the time I do not even notice that I am playing with a brace on.
I am very thankful for all the doctors, nurses, and other staff members both at Sioux Center Health and at Dordt College who helped me through this entire process to allow me to continue playing the game that I love. Without all their help and encouragement, I know that this journey would have been much more difficult.