Donor Tissue Put me Back on the Field
In March 2003, during the Ohio State University men’s lacrosse season opener against Navy, I injured my right knee. I came off of a pick and planted my knee to change directions, when another player ran directly into my knee from the side. I felt a pop in my right knee and immediately knew something was wrong. Doctors later confirmed I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and would need surgery to play competitively again. Thanks to donor tissue, I was able to get through the long road of recovery and rejoin the team.
We won the Greater Western Lacrosse League Championship later that year, in 2004, and earned an NCAA tournament bid.
Unfortunately, my story doesn’t end there. A second injury, this one a torn ACL in my other knee, occurred in 2012. I had surgery on the left knee last fall and will finish rehab this spring.
When doctors said donor tissue could be used to repair my ACL, I was concerned that the tissue may not be strong enough or that my body may be slower to heal. In fact, doctors said rehabilitation would be easier with donor tissue because I would avoid taking part of my patella tendon or hamstring to replace the torn ACL ligament. Donor tissue got me through two separate rehabilitation processes and back out on the field, playing the sport I love.
Being a tissue recipient gave me a second and third chance to compete after multiple injuries put playing into jeopardy. I encourage everyone register as an organ, eye and tissue donor because the gifts you can give improve the quality of people’s lives. Without a transplant, injured athletes like me may not be able to play the sports we love. Register your decision to be a donor today.