1996, I tore my anterior cruciate ligament in my fourth NFL game.
I had seen one of my teammates go down with the same injury two months
earlier but, until I became a victim, I thought I was immune to that
sort of injury. From what I've seen since I have been playing football
an ACL can happen many different ways. But here are the most obvious
When I ruptured my ACL, I felt a pop in my knee and an unsteady sensation.
Although, I was able to get up and limp to the sideline I felt like
my leg had no strength to carry me.
If you've suffered a ruptured ACL you can expect to experience those
Difficulty walking, a feeling of instability in the knee and
swelling, usually beginning within one to two hours after injury and
peaking about four to six hours later.
You must see your physician immediately for an MRI to determine
the degree of the damage.
Most ACL ruptures require surgery. During an ACL reconstruction,
the surgeon drills a tunnel through the tibia and the femur and
attaches a replacement ligament called a graft. The graft may be
a piece of tissue taken from a cadaver, from another part of the
patient's leg or from a synthetic material.
My graft was a piece of my patella tendon.
To recover from your ACL you must do stretching and strengthening
exercises. Your rehab is extremely important; it will dictate if
you will make a full recovery or not. The recovery time varies from
one individual to another. Nevertheless, expect several months to
a year coming back.