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How I tore my anterior cruciate ligament playing rugby

After a great season in which I made my debut for the Dutch team, something happened to me in the national final on May 29. In the last 5 minutes we were only leading by 1 point, they broke through and I ran at speed to make the tackle. I misjudged the angle and came out uncomfortably in front/next to her. I planted my left leg into the ground and wanted to do the same with the right to tackle her, but she stepped in unexpectedly and I felt myself sink through my knee. I was in tremendous pain and stayed down right away. I have never been on the ground screaming in pain in those 12 years of rugby and knew it was wrong. My lovely physios checked my knee and it really looked like my cruciate ligament was off. I had to get off with a heavy heart, knowing I could no longer affect the match. We became national champions 5 min later, but this experience was different now for me.

Preparing for ACL surgery


I was able to ride my bike the very next day and walk with 1 crutch just to be sure, the loading went quite nicely. There was quite an emergency rush behind the MRI and a good physio find and so it happened. At the MRI it was definitely official that my cruciate ligament was broken and some other injury. I started working hard three times a week with the physio and trained to tears every time (which, by the way, paid off in muscle retention when I went into surgery). I marveled at how much I could still do, but was very happy that I could still move somewhat. At physio we worked hard on muscle retention and getting the stability back for now. Since I would like to get back into the premier league and the Dutch team, I definitely wanted surgery. A few days before surgery I did a strength test as a 0 measurement for the upcoming trajectory.

The mental aspect

I am used to exercising hard and persevering but those first few weeks were definitely a struggle. I had to drag myself to physio three times a week, knowing that by the end of the two hours I would be back on the legpress with tears with the BFR (blood flow restriction) around my leg. Three weeks after my cruciate ligament rupture, my relationship of 5 years went out which added the necessary mental load. I was going to live in France for six months to study and play rugby, all those plans fell through. It's been tougher mentally than physically because you have to completely reinvent yourself the moment your life seems to fall apart. Nevertheless, I was back there on the legpress puffing myself through it that I could do it. Because of this cruciate ligament I had suddenly become a very anxious and insecure person, which I never was before. I also had a hard time with that, but it helps to accept that this is normal and happens to a lot of other people as well! What has helped me a lot is to say out loud that you can do it and keep courage, ask for help where needed and let people in. I think accepting that things are falling away helps a lot and makes room for new opportunities and ideas. On to surgery.

Experience week 1-6


hoe duur zijn krukken

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