I’ve never considered myself a superstitious person, but I think I’ve become one. I’ve never watched the tape of my knee folding like Gumby against the Charlotte Bobcats on Feb. 26, 2007. And I won’t. I can’t watch replays of any injuries. I’ve never seen how Kevin Ware went down. I have no idea how Derrick Rose got hurt. Paul George? No clue. Shoulder, knee, ankle sprain, wrist. I can’t watch.
Back when I got hurt, YouTube was really just becoming a thing. Replays of injuries hadn’t been car-wreck fodder before me. I was the first guy who showed up on blogs. I was the first guy ESPN showed over and over. They didn’t have disclaimers or make decisions to only show it one time like they do now. I realize it’s a business, and there’s certainly an audience for that kind of thing, but I hated it. I get it, shock value is pretty great, right? But I remember being in the hospital just eating a sandwich, thinking I’d be out six to eight months when a nurse said I might need to have my leg amputated; she said it like it was nothing. As my career was flashing before my eyes, I heard some guys out in the main area of the hospital, shrieking and laughing while watching ESPN replay the routine layup that changed my life. I didn’t care much for that.
I can’t take the play back. I’m not a surgeon or a physical therapist. But I can be solid mentally. And I think making the choice never to watch that tape really helped me focus on getting back on the court. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but just kind of staying positive and taking control of my mental approach was hugely important for my healing process.
And I think my story and my process can be helpful for other guys, so I’m going to use this space to tell it. I’ll go into the details of my injury, surgery and rehab, but I won’t be boring about it. I plan to give you all the gory details, but also a look into the other athletes I turned to and the teammates who gave me strength. Of course, not everyone was my champion, so I plan to address some of my doubters here, too. Check back soon for my next entry.
You’re all going to YouTube now, aren’t you?
This is the first in a series of rehab reports by Shaun Livingston and other athletes who have suffered or are suffering from potentially career-ending injuries. You can read Part Two here.