Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” -John 13:7
Growing up playing lacrosse was part of my every day life because I knew that I wanted to play division one lacrosse. I played wall ball and shot every single day in high school/ middle school. I eventually went on to play college lacrosse at Syracuse University. For me this was a dream come true and I was on cloud 9 at the time. My freshman year I voluntary redshirted so I could get stronger and save my eligibility so I could get my masters degree. As my sophomore year started I enjoyed playing fall ball tournaments with my team in preparation for season in the spring. Little did I know what my future had in store for the next two seasons.
February 7th, 2017 was a day that I will always remember for the rest of my life. It started out as a normal day but I was getting really excited due to the fact that we had our season opener against Boston College in two days. Mid way through practice we started a 1v1 drill and we were almost done with the drill when my coach said “Morgan go one more then we can get water”. I started to dodge around the crease and my teammate stepped on my foot and my knee buckled. I was rushed to the Emergency room because the trainers thought I broke my leg due to all the swelling. As I sat in the emergency room I didn’t know what to think all I knew is I was in the worst pain I’ve ever experienced and I knew this injury wasn’t good. Two days later the MRI results came back and I was told that I tore my ACL, MCL, lateral and medial meniscus. I also dislocated my knee cap in the process of all of this. I proceeded to get my surgery done at HSS in New York City a month later. I was on the road to recovery and my mindset was extremely optimistic. Its important to note that this is now 2 seasons that I have sat out.
Spring of 2018 comes around and I am cleared to play lacrosse again. I was extremely happy and proud of myself because it was a long process. My team went to Florida for the first week of practice for the season which was super exciting. My fourth practice at Florida I fell and felt a pull in my knee. I didn’t know what was normal pain because I knew my knee would never be the same. With that being said, my trainer said that my knee looked very swollen and something was wrong. Sure enough a week later we found out I had re tore my meniscus and I was out for 3 months which was another season. I got surgery done and yet again I started the rehab process.
Fall 2018 rolls around and I was cleared for fall ball. We start practice and not even a week into practice I felt the same pull again and I thought to myself this cannot be happening to me. I didn’t overreact I just kept trying to play but it got to the point where I was limping around so my trainer looked at it again and said that it doesn’t look good. Sure enough I re tore my medial and lateral meniscus. 2 weeks later I got my 3rd knee surgery. At this time, I started to have doubt in lacrosse and the thought of ever playing again. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in myself it was more about is it smart to keep doing this to my body. I rehabbed really hard and my surgeon said you get one more try at playing but if anything happens again you are being medically disqualified. I was extremely grateful to have the opportunity to play one more time because I really had a good feeling about this upcoming season.
Spring 2019 lacrosse season starts and I am cleared. I started playing and I felt pretty good. I was playing fearless and very confident. This then gained me a spot as the 5 attacker in and was granted decent playing time. I have never felt so happy in my entire life it felt like everything was falling into place. To say that I was not in pain all season would be a lie because 3 surgeries later I was definitely in pain when I play. The pain was bearable and I ending up playing the entire season and had 20 goals on the season. I learned so much about myself during these past 3 years. I grew as a person and I took my study’s more serious. I got accepted into graduate school for broadcasting which was my dream and without learning resilience from all my injury I’m not so sure that would ever happen. Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” -John 13:7 That is a verse that I write on my wrist every single game because it has inspired me to turn my attitude from “why me” to “everything happens for a reason”.
At the end of last season, I ended up having a fourth surgery on my knee. I had micro fracture on my lateral condyle and 50 pieces of cartilage came off my femur from playing on it. I rehabbed all summer and now I’m back playing fall ball and pursuing my master’s degree. Life is tough but each and every person is tougher. If I could give any advice to people going through a ACL injury, it would be three things.
- Your circumstances don’t define you but how you react to them does
- Embrace the little milestones. (leg raises, being able to do a quad set, running)
- Don’t sit and feel bad for yourself because this injury has happened to so many people. Attack this injury and don’t let it attack you. “A minor setback paves the way for a major comeback”.
MORGAN ALEXANDER, Syracuse lacrosse #1 ☺