For athletes recovering from serious injuries, it's mind over matter
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Sunday, March 18, 2012
3/18/12 at 10:58 AM
Jimbo Elrod: 'High-impact football' results in a lifetime of extreme arthritis for former OU linebacker
Kristin Canady: The hope of a scholarship motivates Skiatook senior who sustained knee injury
Phabian Glasco: Less than two months after gruesome arm injury, a return to the Hornet lineup
Trent Smith: Ten months after serious knee injury, there is one goal: 'I just want to run again'
Megan Melott: After 12 surgeries, rehab becomes routine for TU junior - a cancer survivor
Kye Staley: After severe knee injury, an improbable comeback is capped by a TD against Baylor
They occupy different stations of the sports world, but Ryan Broyles, Kristin Canady and Trent Smith have a shared experience - recovery from a serious knee injury.
Broyles, a former Oklahoma Sooner wide receiver and the major-college record-holder for career catches, continues his rehabilitation from an injury sustained in November.
His return to full-speed activity may not occur until after the April 26-28 NFL draft, but at some point soon, Broyles gets the chance to show that his repaired anterior cruciate ligament can handle the stress of pro football.
This will be the signature moment of his rehab - when Broyles plants his left leg and attempts to execute a change-of-direction cut at an NFL rate of speed.
Canady is a Skiatook High School senior whose basketball season was cut short. The success of her rehab could determine whether she gets a scholarship offer to play college basketball or soccer.
Smith is a Bristow High School sophomore who sustained a significant leg injury last year. He was sidelined during football and wrestling seasons. If cleared by doctors, Smith will be in the Purple Pirates' football camp in August. His recovery will have spanned 15 months.
"There is a huge psychological component in the rehab process," said Dr. David Nonweiler, an orthopedic surgeon who treats scores of athletes at a Central States Orthopedic Specialists clinic in Tulsa. "You have to be dedicated to the rehab. It can be very frustrating when progress doesn't come as fast as you'd want."
Broyles describes the first month after surgery as "really the hardest time."
"But after that, the first month's gone (and) your pain goes away," he said. "I would say when I got to week 10, maybe, that's when I really felt the biggest difference. From about week 10 to week 12, that's when I thought, 'All right, I can get up. I can go. I don't have to warm up as much.' Then it gets going."
In August 2009, Oklahoma State fullback Kye Staley sustained a terrible knee injury that was considered career-ending. But because he was faithful to the rehab regimen prescribed by OSU medical personnel, he made an improbable comeback.
"I just had to push through the pain and keep fighting," said Staley, who was sidelined for two seasons before returning to the Cowboy lineup in 2011.
"The second psychological hurdle comes when the athlete returns to his or her sport," Nonweiler said. "You have to learn to trust your body again. It's a huge factor in the recovery."
After Canady underwent surgery on March 7, her rehab began almost immediately with range-of-motion and strength exercises. While her recovery has just started, Broyles approaches the completion of his rehabilitation experience.
Broyles says his rehab was more difficult psychologically than physically.
"It's more mental, knowing that I can't get up and run, I can't get up and walk the way I want to walk, I can't walk off this curb, I can't walk up these stairs," he said. "It's mentally, like, 'Come on, man, I can just do this.'
"You know what I mean? You have to re-teach yourself to do that. The pain, you know, I go to sleep and don't feel it. I wake up and feel better every day."
Jimbo Elrod, OU football: Former Sooner All-American lives in constant pain.
Kristin Canady, Skiatook basketball: Dream to play college pushes her through rehab.
Phabian Glasco, Booker T. Washington basketball: "I saw the bone sticking out."
Trent Smith, Bristow football: Freshman tore ACL, meniscus and fractured his femur during drill.
Megan Melott, TU rowing: After 21 surgeries, "Rehab has become pretty common for me."
Kye Staley, OSU football: Fullback's injury was thought to be career-ending.
Original Print Headline: Mind over matter
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
Former OU wide receiver Ryan Broyles injured his ACL during a Nov. 5 game against Texas A&M. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World file
Bristow High School sophomore Trent Smith undergoes rehab at the Central States rehab clinic with physical therapist Jeff Polson on Wednesday. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World