Jumping Through the Pain

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

Tearing an ACL alone would send any ordinary athlete to surgery and about six months of recovery. This athlete tore his ACL and his lateral meniscus this season and is still competing. Find out what makes him practically superhuman. Continue reading

Go watch tape from this season’s track meets…you can’t tell. Go to track practice…you still can’t tell.  Unless you headed over to the athletic training room, you would have no idea that triple jumper Kyle Mills completely tore his lateral meniscus and his ACL this season.
“After the doctors and trainers told me after the MRI I had torn it completely,” said Mills, “I was in complete shock.”
Both of these tendons are critical in maintaining stability.  BYU’s team physician Dr. Brent Rich has only ever seen one other athlete capable of competing with such a traumatic injury in his 24 years of practice.
“Yeah, very rare for an athlete competing at a high level, especially a jumper,” said Dr. Rich, “that they can cut, and pivot, and jump and go side to side is very rare for them to return to sport with an ACL deficient knee.”
Even a small tendon like the ACL hurts bad enough to take elite NFL and NBA players out for the season.  Sophomore Bekkah Rayborn tore hers in high school while playing soccer.
“Tearing my ACL has to be like the worst pain on Earth, like excruciating. It hurt so bad.  ”
Mills doesn’t plan on coasting through this season either. His sights are on landing a new personal record of 52 feet. All of this is possible because the muscles in his upper leg and calf are overdeveloped and strong enough to the point that they are stabilizing his knee.
“I don’t wanna consider myself Superman or anything,” Mills said jokingly, “but definitely an anomaly I guess you could say.”

Kyle Petitt

Sports reporter for Brigham Young University's "CoogTube" on Fridays

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