Dealing with an Injury 101

By REGAN OLIVER, Gazebo Staff

Athletics are a huge part of my life. Ask anyone. I am always involved with as many activities as possible.

Sports are one of my greatest passions. But, for right now, they have been put to a halt. I am a competitive cheerleader at Middle Georgia Cheer Extreme in Macon, along with 17 other cheer enthusiasts in the area.

Regan Oliver
Regan Oliver

On the weekend of February 12, all of the MGA teams traveled to the World Congress Center in Atlanta for Cheersport Nationals, one of the biggest competitions of our season.

As my nerves began to build in the warm-up room, with at least a dozen teams surrounding our team, I knew everything was going to be OK, no matter what happened on that mat.

My teammates and I were ready to go nail our routine. We gave our best smiles and spirit of excitement as we got called onto the mat.

The nerves were gone. Nothing was crossing my mind except one thing —  how incredibly blessed I am to be able to do a competitive sport I love so much.

The music started and that was our cue. All that was left to finish our routine was our tumbling passes, the last section of stunts, and then dance.

Tumbling has always been one of my strongest skills. I did my first cartwheel when I was 3 years old, and I’ve built my way up from there. I love the adrenaline rush I get when I go to start a pass.

I never thought this would be one of the last times for a few months that I would be able to get that rush and feel myself rotating through mid-air.

Front walkover, roundoff, back handspring, tuck — that’s all I had to do. It had always come easy to me, so never in the back of my mind did I think if something went wrong it would be in my tumbling pass. When I landed my back handspring, my right knee hyperextended backward. I felt a huge pain run straight through my leg. The only thing I could think about to completely describe the pain is that it felt like someone had stabbed me in the leg.

Tears flooded my eyes.  I was in shock. A teammate saw my face of fear and tried to encourage me to push through the pain. “I know you can finish this,” she said.

I did finish but all that worried me after that was how I couldn’t put any pressure on my right leg. One other thought going through my head was how much I loved every single one of these individuals on this team and how hard we had worked to make this routine look great. I finished the routine because I knew I owed that to my teammates.

I got myself off the mat and they immediately took me to the emergency medical area. When the doctor used the terms ACL, PCL and MCL, I immediately knew what she meant. My dad has had multiple knee surgeries, and they started when he was 15 years old. He still has problems to this day.

I wasn’t able to compete at Day Two of Cheersport Nationals. My team went on without me because the show must go on. Trust me, I wanted to be out there. I tried, but I knew it was best overall that someone else was filling in for me. Tears ran down my face as my team competed and when they came off they all said,  “That one was for you, Regan.”

That brought a smile to my face at one of the darkest times for me. Monday, I went to the doctor in Macon to get MRI’s and CT scans. My ACL and PCL ended up being majorly strained. My meniscus had some strain with fluid surrounding it and bad bone bruising from hyper-extending it backwards. I got off crutches about two and a half weeks later.

Now, I’m in continuous rehab for a good amount of time. Being out of something I’m most passionate about isn’t the only thing I’m struggling with these days.

It takes me forever to get to my class. The walks that use to be a breeze from the freshman lockers to Ms. Jackie Waters’ Biology class are now long trips that take a lot of energy. In crowded areas, it’s extremely hard to get around without coming to a panic that something might happen or I might fall and causefurther injury.

Monday morning assemblies, break, lunch, and in between classes are the times I dread the most.
Now, I walk around with a clunky brace on that still draws unwanted attention. Everywhere I go, people ask me,  “What happened, sweetie?”

This brace does not go with my wardrobe. So, yes it looks like I’m trying to start a new trend that is not a very appealing one.

I can’t explain to you how many times I’ve told that awful story and seen the gruesome look on people’s faces.

I speculated that I could push myself to be back in my activities in a couple of weeks but I came back too soon and suffered a setback.

If you’re an athlete and  have any type of injury, then take it seriously. The sport you love will be waiting for you when you are 100 percent. If you try to return before you physical therapist or doctor says you’re ready, you could be put out even longer, like me.

Be responsible and, if you’re pushing yourself too hard,   I hope you have a best friend, Drake Miscall, who will straight up say to you, “You’re being reckless and you need to follow the doctor’s orders. I love you and I can’t imagine who you would be if you couldn’t ever play sports again.”

You aren’t just physically injured, you are also mentally injured, in your heart. You wonder why this happened to you.

All things happen at a certain time for a reason. You might not see the reason at first. I saw how much my team loved me. I recognized these people aren’t just my teammates — they are a part of me.

We are all a family. I realized you need to be grateful for the simplest things you are capable of doing in life.

I’ve heard my dad, Rick Oliver, tell me several times in the past month and a half, “The bright side is always the best side to look at or find, and sometimes on the way to finding that it stinks.”

At first it didn’t help at all because I thought there was no bright side.

But you’ll find it. I promise you will.

Regan Oliver is a freshman and a technology/social media staff member for The Gazebo.