I had seven operations on my knee in three years.

I spent a total of six months on crutches.

I spent over $50,000 out of my own pocket on medicals and rehab.

Last week I ran for the first time in four years, 6 months and twenty days: 1663 days. It sounds like a long time – trust me it feels a whole lot longer!!  

This run was not planned, and it was only 300m but it felt AMAZING.  I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, I even gave myself a little fist pump and a high 5.

For those of you who have known me along the journey you will understand the significance of this accomplishment for me. 

Let us take a quick look back to the journey I have been on over the last four-and-a-half years to get myself in a position to be able to run again.

Early 2010:

I was at the crossroads in my life. I had just separated from my wife at the time, we weren’t getting back together and I needed a fresh start.

I decided that a one-way ticket overseas to the UK and Europe was the way to go. I booked to leave in the first week of June with a stopover in Thailand for a two-week training camp (what I am doing right now), a week sailing in Croatia, a wedding in Scotland and a house to stay with friends in Toulon (France) and London. This was going to be a great trip.

I had also arranged with my football coach that he would allow me to play six games before I was to leave.

It was the first quarter on a hot Saturday morning all the way out at Redlands (I hated the drive out there). I had managed to get my hands on the ball early and was feeling like I was about to have a great game. I remember the moment vividly, the ball bounced in my direction, I bent down to pick it up and was involved in a tackle, two players fell directly across my knee, and it snapped in two like a little twig.

My leg was literally in two pieces, I went to stand up and my knee fell out the back.

F*@K me – The PAIN!!!!

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  The result – one helluva stuffed knee, more akin to a car accident than a sporting accident.

My knee was wrecked but so was my trip and my life… Or so I thought…

The enormity of the injury didn’t strike me initially. I kept telling myself that I would still get overseas for my planned trip. But this was never to happen.

The Rehab:

Rehab was a big part of my life. Below are a few points that I can remember from those times:

  • I was at the physio five days per week for three months straight – I distinctly remember being in tears from the pain every single session for that period.
  • Crutches are a massive hindrance but they are great for tricep development.
  • Follow up surgeries suck. I hated fasting the morning of a surgery so I developed a ritual of having an Indian curry the night before to fill me up. The surgeries involved cracking of the scar tissue to help free up movement, several arthroscope’s, and in my final two, the surgeon cut a wedge into my leg and screwed it back together straight with bone that he had taken from my hip. Waking up was painful!!! 

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The Bad & Ugly:

Mentally the first month was tough. I was doing my own head in. I couldn’t sleep at night and I was stuck in the house during the day. There were moments where mentally I was really tested.

The worst time I remember was when the outside of my knee felt like it had been carved with a machete, I was feeling sick inside & out from the drugs and painkillers and the prune juice wasn’t working. I felt like my world was caving in and I ended up passing out on the bathroom floor with my knee wedged in against the wall. Needless to say being rescued by your own mother in this situation was not my finest moment!!

I am an active person and having that capability taken away from me was hard. But I found ways around it. I still went to the gym almost daily and trained upper body or my good leg or whatever I could. This was my therapy to keep me sane.

Moving Forward:

This journey has been a long and gradual one for me. A day-by-day proposition that has taught me a lot about life and myself.

  • I have learnt to have a great appreciation for life and the value of living in the moment.
  • I have developed myself as a person and also as a professional (I invested more time into my business and I learnt how to rehab knees from surgery)
  • I learnt to be patient (sometimes anywayJ)
  • I learnt that there is always someone who is worse off than you are.
  • I learnt to stop feeling sorry for myself and that a ‘poor mentality’ was going to get me nowhere but depressed.
  • I learnt to stop whingeing and whining and just pull myself together and get back onto the task at hand.

Finally I attended a motivational seminar earlier this year hosted by Eric Thomas.  There was one saying that stuck with me from the day and I think it sums up my journey from injury to now.