*Post written last month.
A year ago today, my daughter was sitting in my car in Centennial, Colorado crying her eyes out and scared to face what was coming next. It was 8 am and we were sitting in a surgical center parking lot about to have a pediatric surgeon repair her ACL.
There are lots of parents and kids (more than I knew), that are going through this across the country. And in the midst of that panic and worry, the foremost thing in your head is “Will it all be ok?”
This post is to give you hope, give you perspective, and give you a sense of what to expect a year after pediatric ACL surgery. Will everyone’s journey be the same? No. But my daughter’s ACL story seems to be pretty typical and I hope will give you some comfort.
A Year After My Child’s ACL Surgery
Skip forward a year from the morning I spent soothing my daughter’s fears and cajoling her into getting out of the car to make that dreaded walk into surgery.
My daughter is 100% recovered and back to normal. Well, as normal as any of my kids or I can get.
For all those parents at the beginning of this journey, it DOES end well. It WILL be ok.
My daughter is 12 now and has grown 4 inches over the past year. She had the modified adult ACL repair which means they drilled through her growth plate. A concern was that the ACL surgery could potentially disrupt her growth plate causing one leg to be shorter than the other.
You cannot imagine how much I fretted and worried over my decision to go with the option that drilled through her growth plate versus the physeal sparing one that avoided doing so. There were reasons why this was a better option for my daughter, but with a very big “What if?” weighting down the con side.
But all that worry was thankfully unnecessary.
X-rays show her leg lengths to be equal and that there was no negative impact to her growth from surgery. You have no idea what a relief that is!
Well maybe you do.
As a parent you make these decisions with a constant worry that what you choose will negatively impact your child’s future. You choose these surgeons that you hope do it “right” and you continue to fret over the What Ifs throughout the entire process.
I’ve never been on such a roller coaster of second guessing my decisions e.v.e.r. as throughout this process with my daughter’s ACL. Not choosing a job. Not moving across country. Not getting a divorce. Never.
But it has worked out well.
Specifically, for those of you wondering:
- She has full range of motion.
- Her growth plates were not negatively impacted.
- Her knee is stable and strong.
- She has no pain.
- The scars are fading, although they are still visible and for some reason I thought they’d be nearly invisible by now.
- She is done with all physical therapy and has been released to play full contact sports again.
- We have noticed no issues at all from the quadriceps graph. She may have even forgotten they harvested her quad tendon.
- She hasn’t expressed any concern about getting re-injured, although immediately after surgery that was a fear of hers.
Return to Sports & Soccer After ACL Surgery
- My daughter just went through tryouts and will be a key player on her competitive soccer team this year.
- She played volleyball and tennis this summer without any concern or issues with her knee.
- I’ve seen her at practice, tryouts and scrimmages and she’s back to full speed and not playing “nervously” at all.
- She gets winded more easily than ever before; it’s to be expected that she’s lost some conditioning after sitting out from sports for a year, but I’m sure she can get her stamina back up quickly with practices 3 days a week.
- She doesn’t appear to have lost any skills, in fact during tryouts another child’s parent said he thought she looked stronger and more skilled than pre-injury.
But most importantly? She’s happy.
My daughter is back to the sports that she loves. Not only that, but she’s more confident, with a proven understanding of her own strength, her own courage, her own ability to overcome a huge challenge with grace and bravery. I’m proud of her.
She just started 7th grade this week and is ready to tackle the world! Or at least middle school
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