Rachel Buehler suffered ACL injuries, in separate incidents, in both knees, as a teenager. Now 27, she has won two Olympic gold medals, a U-20 World Cup, a WPS title (Gold Pride), and has played 99 games for the USA, including five at the last World Cup. We asked Buehler, who starred at Stanford University and now plays for the NWSL's Portland Thorn, to provide some advice for young players faced with the challenge of rehabilitating from injuries.
SOCCER AMERICA: What’s your advice for players who are injured and face a lengthy recovery?
RACHEL BUEHLER: When you’re a young kid, it’s really devastating at the time – because soccer’s your life, and you’re loving it, and there’s the unknown.
But they will come back just fine. The most important thing is keeping everything in perspective and taking one step at a time.
SA: What helped motivate you during recovery?
RACHEL BUEHLER: For me, physical therapy was great. Not just because it helped me get better and better and better, but it gave me something to focus on – each little step.
I focused on a goal for each week: This week I want to gain two more degrees of extension or inflection, or whatever it is. I thought in terms of small goals and then felt like I accomplished something and was making progress. When I reached that goal, I got excited about it. That was a positive way for me to work.
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