Injured Athlete Series: Mattie Sexton


Mattie Sexton is a junior athlete that loves the game of soccer. She has been playing for 13 years and currently plays on the Midwest United national league team. This spring she will play for the school’s varsity soccer team. Unfortunately, Mattie underwent a huge injury a few years ago and has been working to strengthen herself ever since.

What were you doing when you obtained the injury?

“When I obtained the injury, I was at a soccer camp. I was playing in the final championship game and I went up in the air to win the ball along with my opponent and I landed wrong and my leg planted wrong and I twisted then heard a pop.”

What did you end up injuring?

“After multiple visits to the doctor an MRI,z I ended up tearing my ACL in half. It was completely ripped into two pieces and they had to take pieces of my patella to rebuild the ACL graft.”

How did the recovery process go?

“My recovery process was very difficult from a typical ACL recovery. After my ACL surgery, my range of motion was way below where it should have been and I could not straighten my leg at all and I could not bend it. This was because my cartilage and scar tissue built up quickly after the intense surgery and therefore caused keloids. A couple of months after, I ended up having to get a second surgery of manipulation on my knee and they basically went in and tore apart all the scar tissue, cartilage, and keloids. I was put in a full leg cast which was meant to keep my leg completely straight to eliminate the chances of the scar tissue and keloids building back up. Overall, my recovery was about a year and a half of going to physical therapy every day, working with trainers, and getting my leg back to somewhat normal.”

How did your coaches and teammates help you through that process?

“My coaches and teammates were very supportive through this process and that is something I am forever grateful for. As an athlete, being injured and not being able to do something you love is physically and mentally draining and my coaches and teammates did nothing but help me through this process. My teammates, friends, family, doctors, and coaches all pushed me to work hard and recover from this injury to play again and I could not have done it without them.”

How does the injury impact your ability to play now?

“Unfortunately, my knee is not the same as it ever was and it never will be. To this day, I still don’t have a full range of motion in my left leg and I normally walk with a limp, but that is my normalcy now. Before any sporting event or any time of workout, I have to stretch my leg for 10-15 minutes otherwise it is difficult for me to do certain movements. It always aches and has some type of pain in it due to the lack of motion, but that is not going to stop me from playing the game I love.”