Hike! I immediately took a few steps forward to fill my hole. The running back beat us all to the outside. I quickly snapped around and set my angle to tackle him downfield. Running as hard as I could, I caught up to him just in time to make the tackle. But then all I remember is a loud pop and crack coming from my knee.
Much like the rest of children, my first sport was soccer. I was started at the age of 6, back when soccer was just a huge mass of kids running around a field for 30 minutes with a soccer ball. As I got older my skill progressed and I made the travel team. My mom was the coach, and all I can remember is her ear shattering screams from across the field. She claimed that it was the only way she knew how to yell effectively. Middle School rolled around and I decided that I wanted to drop soccer for football because that was what all my friends were doing. I started in 7th grade and quickly picked it up, partially due to my size and intelligence on the field. I memorized the entire playbook for every position on the field which made me very valuable to my coach.
I went to a private school for high school, and decided to continue playing football. Around midseason, we went to one of our conference rivals in New Jersey, the Peddie School, for a Wednesday afternoon game. All I can remember from the game is when I was running behind the opposing team’s running back for the tackle and then experiencing an intense pop and crack as my own teammate’s helmet flies through the running back’s legs and into my knee. Unable to support the added force, my knee buckled and hyperextended as I fell forward and it bent backwards. I don’t remember hitting the ground, but apparently I sent out a yell loud enough to rattle my dad out of his feet on the bleacher and immediately to the side lines. The pain was intense at first, but decreased as my adrenaline pumped harder. I tried to stand up on my own, but immediately fell back to the ground. I laid there for awhile as the trainer examined my knee. Finally after about 5 minutes on the ground, I was able to stand and walk off the field while using two of my teammates as crutches.
I didn’t go in for the rest of the game. I didn’t do anything physical for the next 6 months. I was confined to crutches for close to two weeks, and had to do physical therapy for the next 8 months. Life was very different, but I improved a little everyday. Once back on my feet, I had to wear one of those bulky knee braces you see NFL lineman wearing. I learned from this injury to caudal my knees on a daily basis, because who knows when they might buckle or fail again.