I was 30 when my achilles tore. In fact it looked identical to the way yours did in game 5. Subtract the 20,000 people in an arena and the elimination game in the finals; I was on the right elbow outside the arch trying to take a quick step past a defender. That split second into an explosive step, it felt like my leg had been kicked.
My incident happened about 2 weeks after Cousins had his, i knew nothing about achilles injuries other than it happens in sports. I’ve sprained my ankle so many times playing basketball, so I knew when this happened it was different and something scary. It wasn’t until I tried to walk it off when I discovered the pain that shot into the back of my leg.
When it was confirmed at the hospital that I tore my achilles, I cried. Sure the pain was torturous and I wouldn’t wish my worst enemies to experience it, but the pain didn’t compare to the volcanic eruption of depression going through my mind and broken heart.
6 months before I tore my achilles, I was in a motorcycle accident. That accident nearly killed me as my helmet imploded and my head took the pounding as I tumbled down a freeway lane. It took many sessions of physical therapy and cognitive rehab until I could walk and talk closer to normal.
The very last day of my motorcycle recovery (graduating out of my rehab program), I decided to go to the gym to play basketball. When the tear happened, it truly made me confused with life or karma, because I believed I didn’t deserve this.
I didn’t write this to say how similar I was to your situation. I can’t compare what it’s like for you having your entire life under a microscope by media, sports analyst, and the opinion-minded internet. I wrote this because one of the biggest things that pulled me out of a slump was knowing that I wasn’t alone in these feelings. There are many victims of this injury (or even worse) and just having that network of support helps you stay out of the isolation you might beat yourself into.
Sure it’s nice to see many people send kind words on the internet hoping for a speedy recovery. That eventually fades and you become old news. That’s when it hits you the most, you feel like life passed you by and everyone moved on. It’s not that nobody cares anymore, but the harsh reality is everyone has their own lives and problems to face.
My advice: stay around your core. It was my family and close friends that really kept in touch with me or visited. Allow them in your dark days to help get through it together. Although they don’t know exactly the pain you feel, just know they feel for you.
You may or may not have needed this letter. You may not even see this letter. But, if this does reach you... I hope you get well and keep a positive head during this long process. I believe God only challenges you to the level he knows you can overcome. I believe in you. Thank you for playing for my favorite team and being a true Warrior. You’ve got the heart of a hero, may God bless you with a stronger future. Wherever you decide to go, please understand there are many of us in the Bay Area that truly appreciate you. You gave us championships, and we are forever in your debt.