I received a direct message recently after the post of my NFL Draft experience where I shared the disappointment of tearing my ACL ligament several days after being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 1988 NFL Draft. The question was, what was the emotion you felt after the timing of the devastating injury?"
To be frank, I was crushed! I recall sitting there in the treatment room after Dr. Bergfeld officially said it's an ACL tear, and I was going to be out for a while. The tears started to pour down my face. That was out of character for me because I had never cried for anything related to my athletic career. When I was in high school in Oregon, I was part of the number one team in the State, Lakeridge High School. We dominated my senior year. When we lost in the third round of the playoffs to Gresham, who went on to win it all, the majority of my teammates were crying after the game. I walked around, trying to console everyone, but I felt nothing emotionally. I always wondered why. So when I began to cry there in the Browns treatment room, after the doc said, "it's an ACL tear," it hit me hard. Once I got the cry out, I didn't live in that moment. I did not want to stay there emotionally. When we do, we can get stuck there and it can make it more challenging for a full recovery. You could end up falling victim to one of the greatest pains in life, would of, could of and should of—the pain of regret.
This is why, as I shared those two first steps in the post of "getting my mind right" and "making a decision" as being essential parts to my comeback. You have to be ready to have a "what's next" mentally.
Let me share the next three steps I took on:
It honestly took me two years to reach the physical and mental goals I needed to play in the NFL.
Here's the point, when we experience F.A.S.C.O. (failures, adversities, setbacks, challenges, and obstacles) they are opportunities for comebacks. They truly are but, please realize the comeback will be an endurance race! It's not going to happen overnight. No matter how bad you want it, there's a process, and patience is needed.
When you take on that setback, and you are aiming for a successful comeback, you must have the right perspective. That is, you need to have a long term vision with a long term commitment! If you mentally prepare yourself for this, you'll be on your way to a spectacular comeback!