The Impact of Injury


Ava Padelford, Co-Editor

I underestimated the idea that your life can truly change in seconds. You can be filled with so much joy, excitement and adrenaline and then the very next second, it can be stripped away. 


Tuesday, February 15, I hyperextended my knee jumping sideways over a hurdle for a drill we were doing in track. It was my first day of going to throwing practice and I was so excited to begin my journey throwing javelin. At the beginning of practice, I ran our two warm up laps and felt the cool weather run through my hair. I thought, “what a perfect day for practice!”…Boy was I in for a treat.


Every event has their own coach and practice at the school and I debated going to the throwing practice. I was nervous to try something new and thought that my regular sprint practice would be way more comfortable. I decided to get over my nerves and just go. I mean, what was the worst that could happen?


After my accident, Coach Miller looked at me with open eyes and was concerned. He called Mrs. Rodgers (our school’s trainer) and they helped me get to the training room. Once I was there, Mrs. Rodgers did simple stress tests that helped determine what had actually happened. 


She gave me the worst possible scenario to make sure I understood the extent of the injury: she told me I either tore my ACL, MCL, or my meniscus.


My heart dropped to the floor. I could not believe this just happened to me. I had never gotten injured before and I never thought I would do something to my knee. I could tell from this point on, everything would be different.


Within the next couple of weeks, I was able to get my MRI and I went to the orthopedic surgeon to see what my results were.  He told me I tore my ACL and MCL, and I fractured my femur and tibia. There were so many little things that followed within my injury that I didn’t understand, but he told me I would need surgery or I wouldn’t be able to do sports anymore. 


March 10th was my surgery and it went far better than I could’ve imagined. I was so scared walking in, but I remembered where I put my hope, and felt peace again. During surgery, the surgeons found out that my meniscus was also torn and the surgery went on a lot longer than it was supposed to be. The first couple days after surgery were absolutely horrible. The doctors told me that I’d be in pain but I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was. 


As of right now, it’s been almost four weeks since surgery and the pain level has gone down a lot, but it hasn’t really changed how hard it is to get around or the mental state of my mind. 


There are 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. Though this only happened a few weeks ago, I’ve gone through every one of these, repeatedly. 


Anytime you lose something, you will go through these things. It can be the loss of a person you loved dearly or any trial that changes your life. It’s how you react to these trials that can completely change who you are for the better or for the worse. 



I didn’t want to believe this actually happened. I wanted to just wake up and start the day over. I trained for months to be in the physical shape I was in. It was going to be “my year”. I originally thought I could just walk it off because I thought I’d be fine. I laid on the bed in the training room and just prayed. I prayed that God would take away my pain, my worry, and my fear. 


It’s natural to want to deny a tragedy that has happened to you. Don’t live in denial, but be honest with yourself. You will get out of your situation and be able to rejoice and because of your new strength, no one will be able to take that joy away. 



As I said before, I have been working so hard lately and have fallen in love with the weight room and training. In a split second, I felt like everything was taken away from me. That may sound pretty dramatic, but as a high school girl with lots of love for her sport, it felt like a part of me was taken away. I was and still am so upset this happened to me. 


The day I got home, I just cried. I wasn’t in as much pain in my knee as I was in my heart. I was so mad that this happened. It was a freak accident, but I felt like there was so much I should’ve done to prevent it. I didn’t have to jump over that hurdle, I thought I could do it. I could’ve gone to sprinting instead and wouldn’t be in this situation. But I didn’t, and this is my new reality. 


When stuck in anger, find someone to vent to, but don’t let your anger allow you to lash out and hurt people around you. Instead, talk to someone you trust and who loves you. 



I didn’t do too much of this but when in deep thought, I found myself trying to make deals with God. Maybe if I did something good, I could get healed! But that’s not how it works. Not to be prideful, but I am a good kid. I listen and respect people. This was just one of those things that happen in life. Bad things happen to good people because it shapes a good person into a great person. These trials force people to work hard and get better because they don’t have any other choice. 


Know that you can’t do anything to change the situation. Come as you are, be prepared to grow and overcome your challenge with an open heart to change. 



Depression is a huge part of grief. This is a stage many people, including myself, can get stuck in and struggle to come out of. I still feel depressed about my situation. There are nights where I completely break down on the floor and can’t seem to catch a breath because of how hard I’m crying. Then, after these breakdowns, I feel emotionless and broken and my mind goes to dark places. How in the world can we get out of these things? 


Let me answer that by asking this, where do you find your hope? If you are trying to go to something for hope that seems to fail over and over, that’s not where hope comes from. You need to find a confident hope to fill your heart and mind. 


As I was sitting in my room, with a broken heart, and tears streaming down my face,  a song started playing in my head. It’s called “Champion” by Bethel Music. I had a spiritual moment and from that point on, my heart completely changed. I felt an instant peace that seemed to guard my heart from the pain. 



I can wish all I want that this didn’t happen to me. I could cry and believe the dark lies my mind was telling me like “you’ll never get better” or “just stop trying”. In reality, I am going to get better with time and my life isn’t over. 


It took a bit to finally just accept what happened to me. I had to know that there is now nothing I can do about the accident because it happened. There is no need to pray for a time machine when the truth is, there is absolutely nothing to do anymore. As much as I hate my new challenge, I have accepted what happened to me.


The best thing I can do is not only physically heal but mentally heal too. I have to be sure to take care of my body to the best of my ability and also make sure I wasn’t falling away from who I used to be. I have always been a happy, positive person and pushed the people I love around me to do their best. Those people in my life are now doing everything they can to keep me smiling! I feel so blessed to have such amazing friends and family in my life.Now that I am in the situation I am in, I can’t let myself go down a dark path. 


As of today, I am determined to make myself better. Seeing my friends continue to do well and succeed in track is hard. I am so proud of them, but knowing I could’ve been there with them, getting new PR’s and making new memories hurts. 


Seeing other people succeed when you know you could’ve too if it hadn’t been for your trial is hard. Jealousy kicks in and can tempt our minds and hearts to get hard and can turn our thoughts and feelings into hatred. Take a step back and be proud of the people around you. Know that you’ve been handed this new challenge to come out a stronger person. With the right mindset, you will become stronger. 


Trials and tribulations change you. They allow you to grow into a new person. With the right perspective, the right support, and a confident hope, you will be able to come out so much stronger than you were before.