BUOL: 'I'm taking steps in the right direction'
Editor's note: This is the fifth entry in a summer diary series from Northern Colorado student-athletes. This latest installment was penned by softball junior-to-be Melanie Buol, who underwent major leg surgery in the spring and is undergoing rehab this summer in hopes of being full-strength when the Bears' spring schedule starts in 2012.
The road to recovery has been long and hard, but the healing process is going well!
Six weeks out of ACL and meniscus reconstruction surgery, and I'm taking steps in the right direction. I am able to walk without crutches and am allowed to gradually get out of my brace. Working on my full range of motion, I am trying to get total rotation pedaling on the bike in the training room. Not being able to do everything that I want to during the summer is frustrating, but doing rehab consistently and making sure my knee heals correctly is the most important thing to me right now.
I'm volunteering at a local softball camp this summer, so my summer job consists of me being at the baseball or softball fields, working tournaments, so I am still around ball all the time, which is bittersweet. I enjoy being a student of the game and learning everything I can, regardless of the age of the players I watch, in either baseball or softball. Earlier this month, I worked at the Sparkler Junior softball tournament for Triple Crown, and, though the girls were 14-years old, the amount of knowledge I acquired is incredible. Little pieces here and there add up!
In my own softball world I have limits to my activity. I have thrown (without stepping), and am able to sit on a bucket and hit balls off the tee. Baby steps are what matter right now and as much as I want to leap at the first sign of feeling strong, I know the importance of healing correctly.
Rehab still consists of three sessions a week of wall slides (I try to get my knee to bend as much as possible when laying on the floor and sliding my knee down the wall) biking, balancing, "firing" my quad muscles, and a four-way hip exercise with weight attached to my quad. The rehab is tough and at times there is pain, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel. It feels great to be able to walk on my own, and it will feel wonderful to lose the brace soon.
It is amazing how we take walking for granted, because once it is taken away, it slows down life. Now that I am able to walk I do it more than in the past. I now take my dog for more walks, and I find myself walking around the ball fields more than usua. It sometimes leads to swelling, so elevation and ice after long days is critical. The amount of pain that I have felt throughout this process has been very little considering the procedure that took place, and I am thankful for that.
I truly feel well and have been blessed with a huge amount of support from the people around me. There have been times of frustration -- wishing I could do more -- but I know that everything happens for a reason and time is not on our own watch. I count the blessings that I have now and know that soon I will agian be able to play the sport I love. I am excited for Fall Softball to start, to see my team, and ultimately eager to see what is in store for Northern Colorado Softball this upcoming season. Until then I will continue with the rehab and strength building, so I will be ready to play in the spring.
Melanie Buol #7