Tennis match serves up lesson with knee injury

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2006

The poster on the wall showed a fellow hanging by his foot fromthe long end of a bungee cord from which he had just leaped. Theheadline under the photo read, “Weekend warriors, we will be herefirst thing Monday morning to help you through your aches andpains.”

I chuckled as I stood there, my right leg in the air and acrutch under each arm to hold up my weight.

If you have never used crutches, it is not fun. It is exhaustingand makes other areas of the body almost as sore as the originalinjury.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Three days earlier, we were in the second point of the secondgame of the first set. I felt a pop behind my knee as I pushed offto swat a tennis ball at the net for a winner. My knee buckled.

Thoughts that my pain was something that could be worked outdisappeared quickly as I tried to take a fast step.

Carol Haley and I had just a few hours earlier played a match ofa lifetime and beat up on a strong team from the Delta. We bothwere playing well and doing our part for the Brookhavenmixed-doubles team representing Southwest Mississippi in theMississippi Seniors state tournament.

All that changed with a little sound from my knee.

Walking on crutches for the past few days has opened a whole newworld for me. I have more of an appreciation for those who do nothave full use of their legs.

Just trying to get around the house and the office has been achore. My family and co-workers have jumped in to help – despitethe few chuckles I could hear in the background during the firstcouple of days!

I have found a good use for a crutch – cats and poodles keeptheir distance as all it takes is one quick nudge and they scurrydown the hallway.

As we all should be, I am always mindful of handicapped parkingspaces. But I have to admit a bit of frustration in the past whenin a hurry I would find several open handicap slots but nothingelse available.

Not anymore, those special parking spaces are well-earned slotswhen one cannot get around easily. The wheelchair ramps recentlyinstalled around downtown are worth every penny of taxpayer dollarsspent, for it makes life just that much easier on those who needthem.

One thing I have noticed while walking on my crutches is howsome people will not look you in the eye as you walk along – maybethey think it is catching. The other thing I have noticed, thereare a lot of nice folks out there concerned about others’well-being and are willing to offer a helping hand.

“Weekend warriors,” I thought as the physical therapist pulledand jerked on my leg, trying to identify just where my injury waslocated. “Senior tennis tournament,” I thought as I lay therewondering when and if I will get back to 100 percent.

Those two thoughts that have serious implications when you crossthat half-century line.

The good news is that no surgery is required, just exercise andmore therapy. The bad news is I have not yet found a way to acceptthe realization that at over age 50, things do not heal quite asquickly as before.