By: Matt Rodrigues
Sophomore Zach Rodrigues had an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear late last summer on July 23 at a pre-season summer league game, two weeks before the AHS soccer team left for Camp Manitou. Rodrigues was dribbling the ball when a player from the opposing team came in with a hard late tackle to his knee.
He hit the ground and began crawling around in pain. The crowd was totally silent. The coach ran on the field and picked him up and carried him off the field. Both the team and the crowd then knew the injury was serious.
From the field Rodrigues was sent to the hospital and then later to a physical therapist to confirm his ACL tear. The doctors made it clear the ACL was torn and he was out for the whole season. Rodrigues said, “It hurt a lot, it felt like something popped in my knee.”
Rodrigues still traveled with the team to camp but wasn’t able to play.
After returning from camp Rodrigues had surgery on August 21. It would take a total of six months before he could be cleared to play again. He began physical therapy twice a week, which slowly improved his recovery process. The physical therapist had him doing exercises such as leg lifts, lunges, squats, and just slow running on the tread mill.
Six months later he’s finally back out on the field working his way back up to what he used to be. “It was awful, I hated not being able to play,” said Rodrigues talking about being on the bench for the season.
“It was especially hard for a player like him who’d come off such a great freshman year. He was really looking forward to playing,” said brother Matt.
Currently playing with a brace on his knee for more support, Rodrigues continues to exercise to strengthen it. “By Sept. 2014 he will no longer need it as his recovery process will be complete,” said father Steve.
Rodrigues is looking forward to coming back and being able to play his junior year with the AHS team as they have the majority of the team as only five seniors left. “I feel good, just like I did before it happened,” said Rodrigues.