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Thursday, February 7, 2013

A few Thoughts on Rehab from ACL Surgery and Rebuilding a Baseball Team



I was in line to be on the varsity basketball team at South Houston High School during my Junior year(1985-86).  However, about three weeks before the season began, I tore my ACL while dunking a basketball. Just like that, my Junior season was rendered moot and my preparation for the 1986-87 season began. The picture above is proof that I did make it back.

I wish I could tell you that the injury took place in the heat of practice in preparation for the season. Unfortunately, that would be a lie.  Instead, my downfall came as I tried to impress a certain young lady who had the ability to make me do stupid things, whether she noticed them or not.

The road back to the basketball court for my senior season was not very glorious.  Five days a week, my "competition" became climbing the steps at Pasadena's Memorial Stadium and doing other physical therapy exercises in the bowels of the stadium with Mr. Tom Acuff.  I attended my team's games, but needless to say, I was not emotionally invested in what happened on the court.

A recent ankle injury forced be back into the role of rehabilitator.  Being in this role, brought back memories of my days at Pasadena Memorial.  However, it also brought to mind the current state of the Astros.

It strikes me that the rebuilding of the major league club in Houston is not much different from an athlete who is rehabbing from a major injury.

1.  The Competition Isn't on the Field- The results of an athlete's rehab efforts won't be seen for six months, or a year, or two years.  Having been in the middle of a rehab, I know that sometimes it seems like the results will never come.  Does this sound familiar?

2.  The Game Doesn't Care that You're Gone- Games keep getting played whether you are ready for them or not.  The other teams keep competing at a high level, even if you are unable to do so.

3.  There's No Vacation on Rehab- If you take a few weeks off from needed treatment, you end up further behind than you were before hand.  I can't imagine THIS would happen, but if the patient refuses to receive needed treatment for two or three years, then the road back from "injury" allows for even fewer rest stops.

4. It May Feel Great Once You Get Back, But it rarely even feels good until you Do- The best feeling I had as a high school player was my first game back(25 points against Pearland-with the same young lady in the stands).  However, when I was injured, I never woke up and said, "Yes, I get to go to rehab!!"

5.  There's no guarantee that you get the Girl- Despite my 25 point return, the young lady in question ended up dating some sophomore point guard on the Junior Varsity team, thank you very much.


My high school coach, Jim Stephens, currently coaches girls' basketball at Cy-Falls High School in the Houston area.  He picked up his 500th career win last season.

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