January 30, 2020 - TCO
After ACL Surgery: Jaylen’s Journey
Henry Sibley’s Jaylen Rosga is a lacrosse phenom. At just 16 years old, she’s already receiving attention from major Division 1 programs and currently plays on one of the country’s top club lacrosse teams.
“Lacrosse is my passion in life,” Rosga said. “I was honored to be named one of the country’s top players in the class of 2022.”
With all of the buzz surrounding her outstanding abilities, Rosga began thinking of her future and how to make sure her dream of playing college lacrosse would come true.
“I had been since March, every day, doing ACL prevention,” Rosga said. “(Tearing my ACL) was honestly the biggest fear of mine.”
For Rosga, ACL prevention meant doing specific exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee and to also increase flexibility.
Despite her best efforts, though, Jaylen’s nightmare came true on July 19th, 2019.
“I just planted, it twisted, and it just went out,” Rosga said. “I did all three: ACL, MCL and meniscus. I was heartbroken.”
Understandably, the injury was a devastating blow for this star athlete.
“I didn’t leave my house for seven days straight,” Rosga said. “Thoughts just came flooding into my head. (I kept thinking of) what I’m going to miss, what I’m not going to be able to do, how long the recovery is and the surgery. It all just came crashing down.”
Every knee is different, though, and Rosga’s case proved unique.
“There was a chance I could heal my MCL ahead of time, and the surgery would just be my ACL and meniscus,” Rosga said. “So, I did physical therapy two times per day. I was working my butt off. My whole month of August was consumed by my knee, and I was like, ‘I’m going to get it better.’”
One week before Rosga’s surgery, however, an MRI revealed her MCL was still two millimeters away from being fully healed.
“It felt like I had redone it,” Rosga said. “That tacked on another two months to my recovery. That tacked on no weight bearing for two months. That tacked on two scars instead of one.”
The road ahead for Rosga would be full of both ups and downs, and her mom was there to film (and provide support) every step of the way.
“The reason I wanted to do this video is because I wanted to give back what I didn’t have when I was looking online,” Rosga said. “I wanted to help anyone and everyone, in any type of way, in what they’re going through. I’ve been through all the emotions. So, I want to share my story, and maybe people might take one thing away or ten things away from it. At least I know I’m helping them in some way, and I’m helping them get through what they’re feeling.”
When the day finally arrived for Jaylen to have surgery on her ACL, MCL and meniscus, she only felt relief.
“I remember I just had this smile on my face,” Rosga said. “I said, ‘You know what? I have to be positive.’”
While surgeries can seem scary or intimidating, Rosga found the whole process to be simple and smooth at TCO.
“Going into surgery, it’s kind of a breeze,” Rosga said. “Every one you meet is super nice. You get shots and needles, it’s not that bad. The surgery itself feels like a blink of an eye.”
Reality set in for Rosga, though, after waking up from the procedure.
“You’re exhausted,” Rosga said. “The loopy, funny feeling wears off, and it’s like, ‘Okay, this is what we have to deal with. This is reality.’”
As soon as Rosga returned home, the biggest adjustment began.
“The first week after surgery is hell. It really is,” Rosga said. “I lived on the couch for four days because I couldn’t get upstairs to my room. You feel kind of useless and worthless because you rely on your parents so much.”
As an athlete, though, Rosga was determined to put on a tough exterior.
“I was not okay, but as soon as someone asked, I’d put a smile on my face,” Rosga said. “I never wanted to show how I was really feeling.”
Though things were tough early on for Rosga, having a physical therapist like Jill Monson made a huge difference.
“(Jill) was probably what got me through the first four weeks,” Rosga said. “She definitely helped me with the mental side of it and would give me tips. Not just on my knee, but advice on how I was feeling in general. She would say, ‘You know what? When it’s pain, pain is good.’”
Within four weeks post-surgery, Rosga began to see some strides and improvements.
“I would definitely say, the little wins you have to value so much,” Rosga said. “Week by week in PT, we would have different markers. Finally, you start to get these big jumps. It’s emotional.”
After about seven weeks post-surgery, Rosga was able to ditch the crutches and begin the next phase of her recovery at Training HAUS, powered by TCO.
“You start to do things where you’re like, ‘Wait, my knee can take that?’” Rosga said.
At just eight weeks removed from surgery, Rosga’s progress has been impressive, but she knows it’s still very early in her recovery.
“I still have a ways to go,” Rosga said. “But I will say, this whole journey and reflecting back on what has happened, it has taught me so many life lessons. It has also taught me so much about myself that I don’t think I would have known without this injury.”
Look for Part 3 of Jaylen’s Journey coming summer 2020