December 13, 2010
San Luis Obispo, CA
It seems like I’m still trying to get my life back together and organized after returning from Thailand two weeks ago. I’ve been running around taking care of errands, re-adjusting my sleeping habits, all while experiencing the culture shock that comes from being in a completely different world for five weeks. Thailand was an incredible trip, with tons of learning experiences and great stories, but it also feels good to be back in the States, back home to Redondo Beach, and getting into a little bit of a routine again. However, a mistake that I made during my time in Thailand has uprooted my plans and is causing me to rethink my next few months.
While I was in Thailand, my buddies and I decided to explore Khao Yai National Park, the biggest and oldest national park in the country. We rented motorbikes for our day trip to the park, in order to be able to see a good amount of the park in one day. As we were making our way through the park, we hit a steep hill with lots of gravel on it. In our attempt to make it safely down the hill, I ended up losing control of my bike and tipped it in the gravel. I landed directly on my right knee, and also slid a good 30-40 feet before coming to a stop in the middle of the road, the bike scratched up with one of the side mirrors broken, and me scratched up, bruised, and shaken up.
We still had a couple weeks left of our trip, and I hoped just laying low in the islands would allow me to lick my wounds and nurse myself back to help. The scratches from the road rash were healing up, but my knee continued to feel not right. The initial swelling had subsided, but I continued to have issues with range of motion and stability. It felt like having a loose screw in my knee. When I got back to the States I decided to have it checked out, and after an MRI and opinions from two different doctors it was concluded I had a grade 2 tear of the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) in my right knee.
My immediate concern was my future traveling and playing plans, and what kind of affect the injury would have. I wanted to know how quickly I could get back to playing, and in the meantime what type of activity I could still do to stay fit and keep my tennis game sharp while the knee heals up. According to the doctor, a grade 2 tear warrants reconstructive surgery about half the time, with the rehab after the surgery taking upwards from 6-9 months. We decided to go the conservative route, and try to rehab it with 6-8 weeks of physical therapy. After the two months I’ll be able to ease my way back into playing tennis. After a month of physical therapy the doctor will reassess the knee, and depending on how its responding to the treatment, I’ll either continue physical therapy or get the reconstructive surgery.
Needless to say, my injury has shaken up my upcoming plans and has definitely been a huge learning experience. The choice to put myself at risk on a motorbike, even as harmless as it seemed at the time, was stupid and unprofessional, especially on a trip where tennis was the primary focus. I want to apologize to the people that have helped me with my tennis and my traveling for making such an immature decision and put myself at risk like I did. After this whole incident runs its course and I’m able to get back out on the road and play, I now have a better sense of the professionalism that is required in my traveling and decision-making.
In the meantime, I’ll be doing physical therapy 2-3 times a week until my next appointment with the doctor on January 5th. In addition, I’ve been cleared to use my road bike, run, and even hit some balls on the court, as long as I’m standing still in one place. If the physical therapy is working and I don’t need the surgery, I’m aiming for a comeback at the beginning of March for three tournaments in Canada. I’m optimistic about the rehab and am doing everything in my power to keep myself in shape and get my knee better as quickly as possible.
Stay tuned for updates from the rehab…and thanks for reading!