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In the blink of an eye, a life was changed.

- April 11, 2014 by Steve Danner, CSP (View all posts by Steve)

How often do we ignore what our bodies are trying to tell us? The body, while unable to speak, does send signals to our brain letting us know when we’re thirsty, hungry, sleepy and most of all fatigued. The following event is the result of someone not listening to what their body is trying to tell them and how it changed their life.

It was racquet ball day.  A sport known for being both competitive and a great cardio vascular workout, it is most importantly an ego boost for the winner. That is why, after completing three matches and with fatigue setting in, a challenge for a fourth match was accepted by Jim*. His muscles were already aching and starting to tighten up when he started the match. While returning a serve, he planted is left foot, began his swing and, in the blink of an eye, everything changed. Your eye can blink several times in less than second, plenty of time to experience a life altering event. In this case, Jim experienced a bit of an out of body experience when he watched his leg buckle.

An MRI revealed a torn ACL in his left knee. The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) works with the Posterior Cruciate Ligament to stabilize the knee and prevent side to side motions (Quinn, 2012).

The doctor offered Jim two options:  (1) No ACL with a three week recovery time, or (2) Insert an ACL with a six week recovery time. Jim decided to go with the first option and the shorter recovery period even though he recognized it might affect his ability to play sports the way he used to.

Seven years passed before his hip began to experience pain as a result of favoring a knee with no ACL. After two years of medication and injections, the hip was in a losing battle with arthritis. The only solution was a hip replacement or resurfacing. The latter a modern day, less invasive solution is recommended to anyone with enough remaining bone.

The surgery was successful and after three months there was only a minor glitch. The repaired leg was 3/8ths of an inch shorter than his right leg. Jim made sure to mention to his doctor that having one leg shorter than the other was not listed as a side effect in the brochure describing his treatment options.

Failure to listen to his body changed Jim’s life. Even so, he was more fortunate than most who have lost a lot more. So if your body starts to talk, listen.

If you or one of your workers has experienced a similar event, share it with us so others may learn to listen.

*Name changed.


Quinn, Elizabeth. “ACL.” About.com Sports Medicine. N.p., 4 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/glossary/g/ACL_def.htm

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