The pain was unbearable. No kid my age should have to go through this. Why me? Why was I chosen? What did I do wrong? Why did I have to be different? I thought I was all alone. Three straight years with aches and pains. Three straight years waking up stiff. Three straight years of being looked at as a wimp, a liar, a fake. No–that’s not who I am. I was too strong to give up. I never missed one basketball game. They didn’t understand. They couldn’t see the injury. Slowly losing my abilities. Slowly being forgotten. Slowly being remembered as a person who could’ve been something special. Friends became enemies, coaches became rivals, and I became a reminder of what not to do. My mind was unraveling. I was falling apart. My life was a mess. Having grown up a stud athlete, this transition was surreal. How could my abilities be taken away? Did God hate me? There had to be an explanation. Doctor after doctor came and went. Time passed. Opportunities were lost. Answers became an afterthought. All I could do was just keep fighting through. Mentally I was dying; physically I was near a breaking point. Giving up was close. Maybe I was never good. Maybe I made everything up. Was I really hurting, or was it just in my MIND?
One last chance arose. One doctor put my mind at rest. He had all the answers. Dr. Marc J. Philippon, a man I barely knew, changed my life forever. I love a man I hardly know and that’ll be the case for the rest of my life. Even if I don’t make it to play college ball, this man gave me one last chance to reach my dreams. It wasn’t my fault. The problem wasn’t my fault. I was born with bad hips. They told me, “If you were an artist, you never would’ve have pain.” I wouldn’t be writing this paper right now if that was the case. I never would’ve had pain, but that’s not who I am. I am an athlete on and off the court.
The diagnosis was that I had FAI (Femeroacetabular Impingement). My hips were shaped like ovals which caused me to tear both my labrums. On top of that I had a lingering thumb injury that was luckily put on to the surgery docket at the same time. Three surgeries in 6 weeks was what I was up against. I was 17 and I was ready for anything. These surgeries were a blessing and a curse. My dreams of basketball, so close within reach three years ago, now hit home with me. My mindset changed on its own. I began to think of my life without basketball and what I could and couldn’t do. I was up against the world. I realize there is a chance that I will never become who I used to be and that’s why I’ve changed. The world is brighter to me now. My mind is healthier and I’m literally a new man.
These surgeries gave me the opportunity to put myself out there more. I am currently student council co-president, a position I probably wouldn’t have pursued if it hadn’t been for these surgeries. I’ve always had good grades through a lot of effort. But this year I extended myself by taking 3 AP classes and an IB class. Honestly I’m not sure how that’s going to work out, but the challenge is part of a journey that started with two painful hips.
I believe I’ve experienced more than most kids at this point in their life. Everything I knew, everything I ever believed, was being taken away. Today I’m on the road to recovery, getting better one day at a time. I know deep down everything happens for a reason and right now it’s hard to see. But I know in the future it will eventually show itself. I can’t wait for that, though. I can’t control that. All I can control is what I do between now and then, and I promise failure is not an option for me this time.