The Accident and Losing the Dream
It was a childhood dream for Laura and her other two sisters to be volleyball stars. She had strong aspirations of getting herself in a top university as an athlete having all the skills that make up an elite volleyball player.
After a practice in February 2003, during her sophomore year at high school, she tore her ACL, and at the time she didn’t realize what had happened. In the end, she discovered that her ACL and meniscus had been torn, and she was devastated to see her volleyball career come to an end.
Laura underwent surgery right away because she needed to be back on the court for her junior year, which was a major recruiting year for colleges. In August of 2003, she was able to return to the court after pushing herself to a 78% recovery rate, which was rounded up to an 80% recovery rate by the doctors. But by the end of the season in December 2003, she was shuffling around like an arthritic 90-year-old woman. Eventually, in June of 2004, Laura had another operation to remove the scar tissue in the hopes of straightening her leg. In the end, she took the difficult decision to give up her hopes of playing volleyball in college.
History Repeating Itself
In 2012, while still in graduate school, Laura underwent another operation to repair an ACL tear in the same knee. Her doctor wasn’t rounding her up this time. Aiming for a 90-percent return in strength was the minimum she required. In physical therapy, leg strength can be assessed by using a machine and various exercises.
Her left leg (good leg) became so dominant that it was hard for her right leg to even come close to that. Ninety percent means that her bad leg had to be 90 percent stronger than the good one. With this score, she won’t be overcompensating for her leg and won’t be putting herself in danger of additional injury.
Getting Back in the Game
Nowadays, Laura is still able to play volleyball. She recognized that there was another option, that she could challenge herself to do other physical activities such as lifting or going to the gym. She tried working out by watching videos and had a personal trainer once; however, nothing seemed to click for her.
Finally living in West Chester, with Matt April, who lives close to her house, and with a more flexible schedule, she had signed up with Bent on Better. Although it is a group training, the Bent On Better coaches know her so well. They are aware of her strengths and weaknesses. Squats and stretching her quads, for example, are no longer painful options for her. She can deadlift and use resistance bands to improve her strength. When it comes to weekly challenges, she can come up with good figures every time.
It has always been easy for Laura to say “I can’t” because she was always advised not to. But with determination and perseverance, Laura had since been lifting heavy weights; she is leaner, stronger, and fitter than she’s ever been. Despite repeated knee operations, back problems, and a degenerative disc disease, Laura could still meet her fitness goals. Her success is attributed to the fact that she learned the necessary skills, had proper coaching, maintained a consistent training schedule, and had faith in her own abilities.
“Everyone needs to channel their why. I make it a point that my mission in life was to impact others. If I can’t show up for me then I can’t show up for others.
So finding the resources, finding the people, finding a place, or anything I can do to make myself better so I can show up for all the people I need to and want to show up for, that research is worth it, I am worth it and you are worth it.” – Laura H.