The ACL injury that changed my life
Anthea Fun // July 9, 2019, 8:49 pm
As a footballer, playing as a defender requires you to be tough enough to fend off attackers that come your way.
And as a petite girl, it never really made sense to me why I loved that position so much. From the age of 7, football was a huge part of my life. I would attend my brother’s matches, watch my dad coach teams, and eventually referee games myself.
It was only when there was a bye or a long weekend holiday that we attended church. Otherwise it was special occasions, like Easter and Christmas services.
But my world was turned upside down in 2017.
As usual, I was playing football competitively. In this one game, I defended to the best of my abilities, and found myself shoulder to shoulder with another girl. She was stronger and much tougher than me. As we jostled for possession, I lost out and landed awkwardly on my right knee. We had a saying in my team – “Walk it off, you’ll be alright” – but it didn’t work this time. They had to carry me off the pitch.
A week later, the results for my MRI knee scan came back. My doctor explained that I had a fully torn anterior cruciate ligament, also known as an ACL injury. This injury was in no way life threatening, but the news still terrified me. The fact that I had to be operated was an immense shock to me.
Even now, my parents don’t know just how much I cried that night out of fear. Only God knows.
You see, all the years I spent playing soccer on Sundays, were years in which I had stopped going to church and being a part of youth fellowship.
My main focus in life was to become the best footballer I could be. I had lost all contact with my old church mates in my bid to make it to the top. I was known in my high school for being the best player and had received multiple MVP awards through school. All I cared about was my reputation and status, never once realising that my footballing talent and achievements had come from God.
Not long after the injury came a call from my uncle – my grandfather had passed away. I was on the verge of losing myself in pain and grief. Yet, even in the midst of hopelessness, I could see the light of God calling me into His arms. My parents flew back to Singapore, leaving my older brother and I at home in Australia.
All I cared about was my reputation and status, never once realising that my footballing talent and achievements had come from God.
For 3 days I would binge on chocolates and potato chips. Crying in my locked bedroom, I tried to be strong. I really did. But I was in search for someone to grab a hold of. I needed to know that everything would be okay. The only one who could promise those things is Jesus Christ, my living hope. In that moment, I saw He was who I truly needed.
I believe this injury was a wake-up call. A way God brought me back to Him. A letter came in the mail during those 3 days of mourning – a date had been set for my knee surgery. That in itself was a miracle, as waiting times for public hospital surgeries tended to be very long. But God provided such a wonderful blessing for me. With Him on my mind, I focused on the surgery, and got ready to recover and get back onto the field.
A year later in December 2018, I was pronounced fully healed by both my physiotherapist and surgeon.
Praise the Lord! In that time of recovering from this injury, I began going back to church, attending youth group and building my faith. Through reflection, I saw that I had been looking for hope in all the wrong places. I was never going to find it in a certain lifestyle, relationship, another human being or in myself.
I needed go back to square one – real hope can only be found in Jesus Christ. This experience has taught me that no matter how crushed and broken I am, Jesus is always there. He is the hope I had always longed for, His was the hand that pulled me up and out of my misery.
Real hope can only be found in Jesus Christ.
When we put our trust in Him, everything will be alright. No matter what comes our way, we’ll be fine as long as we remain steadfast in the Lord.
I am blessed to be healed from this injury. I have learnt that in times of trouble, God invites us to Him with open arms. We are accepted, loved as who we are. No matter our condition, God loves us, knows us and invites us to place our hope in Him. He sent His only son to die on the cross for our sins. That’s a sacrificial love that awes me.
Today, I’ve become more and more captivated by God. My old hope and dream, to be the best footballer, now cannot be compared to God’s grand plans.
Though I still love football, My God and His Word are even more exciting.
THINK + TALK
- What was the worst injury or season you’ve ever been through?
- What got you through it?
- Where does your hope lie in life?