A Torn ACL and the Path to Recovery

Hayes Garrity shooting against NMSU in 2014. Courtesy of Gabi Campbell

Kyle McDonald |Sports Writer | @kylesportsbias

Photo credit: Gabi Campbell | Art Director | @gabicampbellphotos

 

In July 2014, sophomore Hayes Garrity tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a summer practice for the Utah Valley University men’s basketball team.

Garrity was on a fastbreak during a two-on-two drill and didn’t think anyone was around. As he was going up for the dunk to end the drill, his UVU teammate came up from behind trying to block the shot but ran into Garrity’s body, knocking both players to the floor.

Hayes Garrity shooting against NMSU in 2014.  Courtesy of Gabi Campbell
Hayes Garrity shooting against New Mexico State in 2014. Courtesy of Gabi Campbell, UVU Review

“He was just trying to make a hustle play and not trying to hurt me,” Garrity said.

After landing awkwardly Garrity knew that something was wrong.

“When I landed, I tore my ACL, MCL, ALL, meniscus, and I fractured my femur,” he said.

The ACL is one of the four ligaments in the knee that provides stabilization and without that ligament, it makes it almost impossible for an athlete to cut, jump and run hard.

In the past, it would end an athletic career but now with arthroscopic surgery it makes a recovery of six to nine months possible.

It is an injury that is all too common with athletes. According to txsportmed.com there are between 250,000 and 300,000 ACL injuries per year.

When someone tears his or her ACL, it does not heal. It doesn’t have the opportunity to mend due to its role in the knee, much like a rubber band, when the ACL gets torn there is no way to put it back together.

Recovery and physical therapy have gone well for Garrity as he hasn’t had any setbacks, which can be discouraging to an athlete. His physical therapist has said that it is phenomenal and it is the fastest he has seen anyone recover from an ACL injury.

“It’s been a really long road and that’s been the most frustrating part of it,” Garrity said.

UVU men’s basketball head coach Mark Pope feels strongly that his recovery is going well and is excited for the progress that Garrity is making.

“He is kind of like Kyle Collinsworth as they may be the best I have ever seen at monitoring every facet of their recovery,” Pope said. “From his diet to his conditioning to his strength training…Hayes is working incredibly hard to make his body whole again.”

Coach Pope believes that Hayes can recover and beat the triple-double record set by Collinsworth during the 2014-15 season.

“I have every expectation that Hayes will beat that record and if he doesn’t we will cut him,” Pope jokingly said.

Being in good physical shape has helped Garrity throughout his recovery. He has been diligent in listening to his doctor and physical therapist in regards to what he can and can’t do.

“I’ve listened to my body. If my knee was bothering me…I shut it down, I stopped,” Garrity said.

Despite the unpredictability that comes from an ACL injury, Hayes Garrity plans to be ready for the 2015-16 basketball season.

 

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