First let us define what an ACL injury is, the anterior cruciate ligament tear or ACL is one of the most common and notorious injuries that hamper athletes’ career. Among the four ligaments that compose the knee, the ACL injury is the most common ligament injury. ACL injuries usually occur in basketball players, which eventually end their careers in an instant. An ACL injury damages the anterior cruciate ligament, which is essential for the knee joint’s mobility and so as to function properly.
Rigid fibrous material constitutes the ligament, this allows the knee to perform fluid motion, but is limited by joint mobility (Cluett, 2008). The primary function of the ACL is to push the shin bone to forward motion. For this to be more comprehensive, anatomy of the knee joint must be thoroughly understood. The thigh bone or the femur sits on top of the tibia or shin bone, and the whole knee joint accommodates the junction of bones to move. The joint would be susceptible to dislocation that leads to its instability without the essential ligaments to support the knee. With this in mind, the ACL supports the shin bone from excess inclination and prevents it to collapse (Cluett, 2008).
ACL injuries can occur to any athlete, but in recent memory basketball players are susceptible to this notorious knee injury. Basketball players are more prone to ACL injuries due to the fact that they have thin and lanky bone structures, which tend to break easily. ACL injuries have ended prestigious careers of numerous NBA players. Not only their bodies are damaged, but their egos are tarnished as well (Ocampo, 2007).
ACL Injuries: The Consequences
There is no perfect body that will always endure any injury. Even for athletes, the subject of chronic wear and tear is imminent for them. Even though these athletes are well-built and have tremendous athleticism, they are still bound to get hurt and injured. Whenever an NBA player sustains an injury during the season, it may cost him a significant amount of playing time, and worse his career is placed in jeopardy. By the time athletes get into the court, they have already submitted their bodies to the relative physicality of the sport. With this in mind, basketball is a contact sport as well similar to football.
The most common injuries in the NBA fall into one of three categories namely: Chronic Wear and Tear, Acute Contact, Acute Non-Contact. The most usual injuries that spectators see are acute contact injuries, which is an outcome of an apparent physical contact. Most damaged ankles and knees always involve two players, which lands awkwardly on another’s foot or a player’s knee colliding with another’s. Eventually, the fatigue which results from such physical contact can cause ACL injuries. Freak injuries even adds insult to injury, they rarely occur but once they occur spectators are all eyes and cannot help but gruel on the player who is reeling from severe pain. Last year, L.A. Clippers guard Shaun Livingston has been severely injured in his knee.
The 6-7 point guard was streaking for a fastbreak by his lonesome. He made the lay-up, yet when he landed on the hardwood his knee collapsed and broke like a twig. Livingstone was grimacing in pain as a result of the knee dislocation and a multi-ligament tear. The Clippers guard have already undergone a series of micro-fractures surgeries prior to playing his first season in the league (Bell, 2008).
Livingston’s confidence and self-esteem plummeted to inferior levels. The Clippers guard missed 39 games during his rookie season after the injury. As mentioned earlier, he dislocated his left knee joint causing the severe tear in three of the four primary ligaments on his left knee and eventually dislocation his patella as well. Normally, such injury results from trauma, yet nobody was near Livingston when he was injured. Eventually, Livingston underwent surgery, and was subjected to intense knee rehabilitation in order to recuperate. However, after his reconstructive surgery, Livingston did not fare well with his rehab program.
He was too eager to hit the court too soon, and perform rigorous physical activities already. Such injury is so severe that it can cost an athlete’s career and ego. Considering that on the business aspect of things for him, he is playing the sport at a professional level. Livingstone is only 21 years old, which suggests that he can recuperate faster and better than if he was 10 years older. Fortunately, the injury did not cause any nerve damage, which will not hamper the healing process and bodes a stable condition for the knee tissue as it heals.
Livingston is subjected to a year’s time of intense rehabilitation program; it will be awkward if he abruptly rush his return to the court considering that he has a history of shoulder injury as well. Livingston said that he is bent on adding muscle bulk in order to support his joints. He looks forward to do weight-lifting in order to avoid joint injuries. Livingston looks on the bright side, and is optimistic that he can hit the court soon and contribute for his team (Bell, 2008).
The Advantage and Disadvantages of Psychological Effects brought by ACL Injuries
Grant Hill was deemed “The Truth” even before this generation’s truth emerged. The former Duke star spearheaded the Blue Devils back-to-back championships title in the NCAA. He was able to excel in a myriad of comfort zones where most athletes only dream of. By the time he entered the NBA, he was one of the most gifted balers ever to grace the league.
IT wasn’t unusual for Hill to post triple-doubles every night, which contributed to his being a basketball icon of his time. His combination of athleticism, intelligence, and modesty was instrumental for having him as the only rookie to lead any American sport in fan All-Star total balloting. Hill was considered one of the most famous basketball players after the Michael Jordan era. He was even tagged as the “heir apparent” to his Airness. But that all changed after an injury that cost him his much-anticipated prestigious career and a shot at the NBA title (Tillery, 2007).
After signing with the Orlando Magic in 2000, Hill had to battle through an array of injuries. ACL injury, staph infection, and hernia were all endured by Hill as these hampered his already plummeting career. Many athletes are not given a second chance and ultimately languish among the has-beens and what-ifs. Hill, on the other hand, has become a model for athletes to find the courage to fight and discover their true sense of career satisfaction in the midst of adversity.
This summer, the 35-year-old Hill signed with the Phoenix Suns, where his midrange game should shine and he should finally win his first Playoffs series. Hill may have lost years off his career, but he’s always has a presence to get him by. He and his R&B songstress wife, Tamia, are about family first, committed to giving back to raise up those who live with less amid socially distorting life distress, and Grant’s African-American art collection has been on tour to give the unaccustomed an inspiring renaissance of cultural thought (Tillery, 2007). Grant Hill talks about his injury riddled period:
“It wasn’t easy for an athlete accustomed to playing all the time. Whether it’s a coach’s decision or in my case an injury, it’d definitely hard. I went from being a player used to playing at a certain ability level to all of a sudden have my career come to a halt. There is frustration of not knowing if you are ever going to be healthy. Not knowing if I will ever going to compete again, or if my body is going to hold up. The desire is always there, but you start to have doubts. Doubting your health, and if you are going to play on a high level. I am not saying that it is there all the time, but it starts to creep in, as these young guys say, you lose your swagger.
Life is a bunch of peaks and valleys and this was a valley. You do not let it beat you. You become stronger. You become better as a person. You become a better teammate and garner a better appreciation for the game and a better understanding of life. I missed some prime years and I can’t get them back. It did not kill me. Even now, this was the first time “I have been able to go into a summer and work on my game since the summer of ’99” (Hill, 2007).
Hill turned this adversity into apparent success by being an inspiration to other athletes whose careers were ended by the notorious ACL injury. He has been the harbinger for athletes to raise their egos and turn the tides against the injuries that jeopardized their careers and egos. Athletes who previously possessed astounding athletic prowess, and in a snap of a finger were taken away by the ACL injury, has come to realize Hill’s sentiments and the notable philanthropy he has shown. Hill has even become friends with players who underwent the same agony of the ACL injury he endured throughout his career. Hill says:
“I do make sure we do as much as we can to help those less fortunate, but I have never really thought about it like that. I think everybody that goes through something always asks, “Why me?” However, as you, said, maybe there is a bigger purpose there. Bigger than our careers, bigger than our awards and bigger than something that I have known Chris Webber since I was 13 from playing against each over the years. We have different injuries and issues surrounding them, but the thing is that we keep fighting. I can also relate with Ken Griffey Jr. We’ve gotten to know each other over the years.
Our careers mirror each other because we have been robbed of some years, but stayed at it. I am sure there have been guys that have packed it in. I’ve had teammates tell me they would have quit a long time ago. They would say I already have guaranteed money. But I love to play. Once it’s over, it’s over. I’ve reached out to Shaun Livingston. I call him and am in his ear to encourage him so he will not get frustrated. There are going to be a lot of emotions he goes through, has gone through and will continue to go to through as he gets back. You pull for guys know how tough it is. You know how lonely it is. Guys get hurt and come back, but they have the serious injury where people question whether they will ever play again, you have to earn your way back.” (Hill, 2007).
As of the moment, medical experts and orthopedic surgeons have come up with a solution that will repair any ACL injury. The procedure known as micro-fracture surgery has been so far the most apt remedy for the notorious ACL injury that has hampered every basketball player’s career who acquired it. Yet only a few have been successful in getting their game back after a successful micro-fracture surgery. Some veteran players like Chris Webber and Grant Hill didn’t have the same intensity they have before they have undergone micro-fracture surgery.
Though some players like Phoenix Suns forward Amare Stoudamire has shown that he still has his game after the surgery, most players who undergo such surgery has hardly returned with the same athletic prowess they have shown after undergoing micro-fracture surgery. This only shows that the effects of ACL injuries are subjective in nature, and that only athletes can motivate themselves in order not be overwhelmed by a career liability such as the ACL injury (Ocampo, 2007).
Bell,S. (2007). From Wounded Warriors to Grounded Rockets Retrieved March 17, 2008, from