On May 16th, 2010 I had an injury that no athlete really every wants to have and many do. ACL tears are 10x more frequent in female athletes than male athletes and over 100,000 ACL injuries happen every year. Most of these injuries are non impact – mine was definitely impact.
I was playing softball on a coed team that I was trying out for. They were A division. You figure people know how to play on those teams. I was playing second base (I play shortstop on my regular team). A play was made at home in the top of the 7th. The batter was safe and the runner who had just hit decided to go from first to second. I was facing home since the ball was coming from that direction and was just to 1st base side of 2nd base. The plan was to get the ball and turn to make the tag. It’s pretty typical for a fielder to “block” the base when making a tag and it’s also usual to slide in to the base if you are the runner. First, it’s safer, and second you are more likely to avoid a tag.
In my case I was facing home when she hit me and was only beginning to turn. Thus my feet were planted when she smashed into me from the side (no slide). I tagged her out and immediately thought “oh oh”, that’s doesn’t feel good. Sadly, she was called safe due to interference by the first baseman and what would have been the 3rd out was not. I walked it offer a little bit and it was sore and stiff. My knee felt a little weak but I thought I could play the last out. The last out took forever! My knee was hurting, though not yet swollen and whenever I went right or left it was very weak. If I stood mostly in the same spot I was fine and was okay going forward. We finally got off the field and I told the coach I couldn’t hit, got some ice and sat down. My knee was not too swollen at this point and began to swell over the next 12-24 hours. The swelling lasted to some extent for about 3 weeks though was mostly gone after two.
The rest of this story can be found by reading my blog and using the “knee” category. Below are some illustrations for those of you that don’t play softball (or that do) to help understand what happened.
This is pretty much exactly how I was standing. My situation was probably similar to this one except the runner barreled straight into me from the side. I’m not sure how she expected to get on the base. In this case above, the girl in blue would probably have a serious knee injury if the girl in black had barreled into her at full speed and upright (you can already see how her knee is bending inward so imagine it going that direction but with more force!)
Not that I necessarily did anything wrong but I can learn from this play. This guy fielding at second is not going to get hurt even if the runner doesn’t slide. Very good positioning to avoid injury and one I plan to take when I get back in the game. This guy isn’t blocking the base as fielders often do but he is in a good position to make the tag on a non-force out like this. The ball is also coming from home – just like it did in my play.
The result was a grade 2/3 ACL sprain, grade 3 MCL sprain and grade 1 LCL sprain. The rest of this story is on my blog!