Why Beckham’s Future May Be In Jeopardy

I’m a bit upset that my first post on CHI is about Goldenballs himself, but I was just pondering something while I was working out at the gym this morning, and figuered I would share it with everyone.

During my second soccer game as a Frosh in High School, I stepped in a ‘gopher hole’ near the touchline and twisted my ankle something fierce. I stayed in the game, and didn’t take my boot off, as thats when the swelling gets intense. However, after the game, the damage was evident. Black and blue all over, and with pain unbearable, I went to the doctor.

He took X-rays and said that it was ‘just a sprain’ and to stay off it for a while. A while to me, was about 6 hours, and I went back to practicing that same day. It still hurt, but I figuered it would be okay, and the pain would go away. This was not the case, and I managed to make it to the end of the season, barely walking. I took the next few months off, and it was fine. All was right with the world…

But here is the funny thing about ankles. Even when they are okay, and they are just ‘sprained’, they never are totally ‘okay’. I played the next 4 games my Soph year, until I rolled it again. And again..and again. Eventually, it spread to both legs, and my ankles looked like they had baseballs permanently attached to the sides, thats how much they were swollen.

It eventually took me 6 years until I had surgery to remove the bone chips that had been broken off my ankle bone from all the times I rolled it. I also had the ligaments repaired during the same procedure. I went to PT 3 times a week, and stopped playing ALL sports for 6 months, which to me was the equivalent of the worst torture you could endure.

It took me until my 5th game the first season back to roll my ankles again, and it was back to square one.

I took MORE time off, and made it to the 8th game this season until a sprain and another bout with PT and I’m 23, considerably younger than the 32 year old Beckham.

And I am not in the minority here.  I met a lot of footballers who had ankle problems like mine that were exacerbated over the years.

Now, you might be saying, who the hell cares? Well, the problem is that ankles are a bitch to rehab. They do all the cutting, stabilizing, and flexing during soccer. If Beckham’s injury is at all severe, they are doing the right thing to keep him out until he is absolutely ready. Sure, he could just strap on a brace and take the field, making sure he doesn’t tweak it for that game. But the brace will absolutely hinder his ability to shoot and cross the ball to his liking, which is why I ditched the braces for myself. I have tried ALL the braces out there and NONE of them do not hinder your ability to shoot the ball with the laces of your boot.

I’m fully aware if Beckham makes it through this year and comes out okay, he will do all he can this off-season to rehab it. He will strenghten his ankle, do stabilizing exercises, be put in the baths, be hooked up to machines to send electric pulses through it. (yeah, I’ve been through it all) He will feel fine and be match fit again.

But what happens next year if he tweaks it again? If he goes into a ball and gets stepped on and it rolls? He will be even more cautious not to come back too soon, and will be out again. After an injury, you are always more prone to doing the same thing again, and if I am any indication as to what can happen, the next time could very well be worse. And the next time after that… When people tear their ACL, the ACL is actually 100 times stronger than your normal ACL. But unfortunately, ankles don’t work that way.

Let’s face it, Goldenballs is here to make an impact on the face of soccer in America, but he is not going to do it with a bum wheel, whether you, ESPN, or Alexi Lalas want him to.

He will come back when he is ready, and judging by how long this is taking, I’m betting that it won’t be any time too soon.

And for his sake..I hope he doesn’t suffer the same fate I did.

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3 Responses

  1. Oh, dang, have I been there. Except, when I rolled my (left) ankle the first time, it was while trying to surprise a friend at the end of a long night of drinking by jumping out of the bushes; landed wrong, end of story. The thing still crunches around every morning and, through several years of playing, it rolled time and again.

    Definitely not an injury to be trifled with.

  2. Jeff:

    In the interest of clarity, was the “long night of drinking” an activity within which your friend had participated?

    Or yourself, rather, hence the difficulty in nailing the landing…

    Why I am I guessing the proper response will be along the lines of “both of us?”

  3. Both hammered, but I was probably the worse for wear. There was a time when long nights of drinking with friends often ended in sneak attacks. Then, thank god, we all got girlfriends and, later, wives…all those hormones on the loose…shudder…

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