Overcoming the Adversity of a Life Changing Injury


Photo by: Nicole Mertes

Miles Hessenthaler’s returns to the field after his injury.

Preston Schamens, Student of Journalism

At the age of 12, middle school starts to kick off and things like sports start to become more serious. Unfortunately, for one particular freshman, the cruel reality of life in sports has already hit. 

 Defending in his soccer game, Miles Hessenthaler’s teammate loses the ball. In his attempt to recover, Miles sprints back, but ends up stepping the wrong way, and collides with his opponent. From there, pain grips tightly around his knee.

“I knew something was wrong right away. Something had popped and I was in excruciating pain.”

This marks the start of a long and grueling recovery process. It takes Miles and his family 2 months for the diagnosis to be final: Doctors confirm a torn ACL.

Miles has successful surgery done to his knee in November 2020, and now faces an uphill battle on his way to fully recovering.

“The recovery process was difficult because I could barely bend my knee at first. I had to go through physical therapy for 3-4 months to learn how to walk again. I started to get more strength doing plyometrics and working out, having a workout plan, just to get back into soccer.”

Although Miles is two years removed from his injury, abnormal movement in his leg still triggers a reaction.

“Every once in a while I’m still scared to go into a challenge because I fear getting hurt again. But, I think If I keep on working as hard as I am now, it won’t affect me in the future, and I’ll be good to keep on playing.”

While the rehab process takes what feels like hundreds of years, Miles comes back stronger. While the fear of re-injury still lingers, he shows the hunger to prove that injury as only a minor setback, and not a major one.