I am, or was, a collegiate pole vaulter at the University of Sioux Falls . I’ve had many little injuries; tendinitis stress fractures, concussions, you name it. I was finally completely healthy and having the season of my life. However, that all changed in a blink of an eye with a career ending injury. Let me take you back to December 2012. My husband (who pole vaulted as well) was ranked #1 in the nation at the DII level. The week of the first indoor meet while performing a pole vault drill, he landed funny and tore his ACL. Within a matter of seconds his vaulting career was taken away from him. Many people, including myself, asked How could this happen to him? Nevertheless, we knew we had to trust God knowing he had a plan in store for us. My heart sunk and I felt horrible. I felt like it was my duty to vault better than I ever thought possible for him. I wished I could take his place so he could vault again because I knew vaulting meant far more to him than it ever would to me.
Three months later was the national meet. On my second jump, I did not get far enough into the pit and was about to land in the metal box. I had three options: 1.) Hang onto the pole and crash back down on the runway 2.) Let go and land in the metal box 3.) Let go and straddle the box so my feet would still land on part of the mat. Within milliseconds I had to make a choice that would forever change my life; I chose option three. As my feet hit the mat I felt my knees buckle inward. I then heard two loud pops and about a second later, a surge of pain rushed to my legs. I knew right away I tore something. Sure enough, after getting an MRI, I was diagnosed with complete tears of both of my ACL’s, partial tears in both of my MCL’s and LCL’s, tears in the meniscus of both knees and a severe bone contusion (bruise) in my right leg.
I have never ever heard of anyone tearing both ACL’s at the same time. My emotions were all over the place; I was sad because I knew my vaulting career was over (since I am a senior), I was frustrated that I would never be able to achieve the goals I set, but more importantly, I was confident. Not in the competitive sense, but confident that God had a plan for me. Confident that he would take care of me. Confident that I could do all things through Christ. Confident that I could touch others through my story. My husband and I always joke that between the both of us we only have one good ACL remaining. I believe God gives us extra strength in times of distress. I know the Holy Spirit will work through me so I can help others feel the love of Jesus. If even one person can be touched by my story, all of the physical and emotional pain is worth it. God has a reason behind every obstacle we have to go through whether that be physical, emotional, or spiritual. I’ve been blessed with this injury (that’s right, blessed) so I can show others how wonderful, awesome, and loving is our God! Do not get me wrong, I am human and I do get sad and frustrated. I find myself wishing I could still vault because I do truly miss it. The situation gets frustrating and I just want all of the pain and swelling to be gone. However, I know the pain will eventually go away, and the love that Jesus has for us will always be with me and I am so comforted by him. The pain on Earth is totally worth the reward of being with the Lord in Heaven. After all, Jesus suffered and died on the cross for me, I can handle a little knee pain for him.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9