No athlete wants a serious injury to end their season early. Senior Jordan Bilyeu experienced this during her final year with the Webster Women’s Soccer team, as she suffered an ACL injury only seven games into the season.
“I felt like I was living in a nightmare or something,” Bilyeu said. “It didn’t feel real.”
Athletes know their body better than anyone. Bilyeu said following an injury, athletes always want to try and stay positive about the situation. However, she knew something was wrong when she heard a loud popping noise. There was no pain, but she described feeling like her knee was about to fall off.
ACL injuries have one of the longest recoveries in all of sports injuries, close to nine months. After being told the significance of the injury, Bilyeu remembers being hit with a wave of emotions. She didn’t know what to think, but she understood that she would be out for the rest of the season, and there was a long road to recovery ahead.
“It sucks,” Bilyeu said. “You feel good in two months, but still can’t do anything because it is so easy to reinjure if it is not healed all the way.”
Recovering from this surgery required countless hours of physical therapy and rest. Physical therapy can be very painful, especially when trying to regain all of your range of motion in your knee.
“The first couple of weeks following surgery were just absolutely miserable,” Bilyeu explained.
Bilyeu said injured athletes often feel like most of the pain comes from not being able to practice or play. She remembers thinking she just wanted to practice again, as she hated having to sit and watch.
The hard part about athletes returning from an injury this significant is wondering how their body will feel once they are cleared to play. After sitting out for so long, it wasn’t a guarantee that she would still feel the same. Bilyeu explained how she sustained many quad strains during her return because she was using surrounding muscles to compensate for her knee.
Choosing to return from an injury like this can be hard, especially since she is a senior. However, since Bilyeu did not play her freshman year, she quickly decided to return to Webster for a final season.
“I remember that senior night was a few weeks after and [I had] to sit out through all of that.” Bilyeu said. “I was like, ‘I have to come back.’”
Now that Bilyeu has returned to the pitch, she seems to be back to her old self.
“I honestly feel fine,” Bilyeu said. “I don’t feel my knee at all. I don’t even think about it, honestly.”