Not the Best First Year in College

I can remember writing a heartfelt blog post this past fall about our son, Ben, heading off to his first year of college. It was a bittersweet time for me… I was mournful about sending our first born away from home, yet excited about all the opportunities he was likely to encounter.  I was also worried about his health and well being. He had knee surgery (replacement of a torn ACL) a month before he left. He needed a good six months of intense physical therapy as well as training and conditioning once the repair is mended.

At that time, I felt that life had treated him a little unfairly. He is an avid soccer player and was asked to be a member of his college team prior to getting injured. The injury caused him to be red-shirted (taken off the roster for his first season). He was extremely upset about this, but managed to maintain pretty good spirits through the first semester of school. He worked hard, made friends, went to all his team practices and games without being able to participate, and managed to keep up with his physical therapy.

Then came his second semester. He could see the light at the end of the tunnel, with just one month left in his eight month knee recovery. He was beginning to gain some muscle in his atrophied leg and starting to train with the team. Then, on February 2nd, he and two friends were crossing the street in a school crosswalk when all three were struck by a car, which threw them several feet through the air. All three lost consciousness upon hitting the ground. All have concussions. One student has significant head injuries with both staples and stitches, while another has a broken nose.


We thought Ben came out of the accident the least injured… until we brought him to his knee surgeon. An X-ray revealed the displacement of some bone. Then an MRI showed that the new ACL has been compromised due to the impact of the car, meaning that another ACL replacement surgery is necessary. Ben now has to withdraw from the semester in order to have the surgery, which will require another six months of intensive PT and it’s unlikely that he will be ready to play for a second year of college soccer.

Oh, and did I mention that he came down with mono in the middle of all this? But apparently that was the least of his worries.

Now, believe me, we all feel incredibly blessed that all three kids are expected to fully heal and we certainly know that it could have been much worse. The driver did not even hit the brakes until he hit the kids, so the potential for more life threatening injuries was certainly within the realm of possibility. But it does seem to be an awful lot for an eighteen year old to handle. I know there will be silver linings, even if they are not readily apparent at this moment. There can be much learning and growth from this kind of adversity. But it’s difficult to convince a passionate soccer playing teenager that any good can be found in this particular situation.

I’m only hoping that he can muster the strength and determination to work hard on his recovery and keep his spirits up throughout the process.

Thank you for listening.

Until next time,

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20 Responses to “Not the Best First Year in College

  1. Caro Ness says:

    Poor Ben, do send him our best wishes for a full recovery as soon as possible
    Caro Ness recently posted..The Flat Screen TVMy Profile

  2. It sounds like a pretty bad situation for all of them. It IS hard to see the silver lining when so much physical pain and disapointment is involved: school set-backs and what sounds like great physical damage and change of lifestyle/goals. So sorry to read this Suerae. I know as a mother you are hurting as much as he is. Best wishes to all involved…
    Carolina HeartStrings recently posted..CROCKPOT BREAKFAST QUINOAMy Profile

  3. That just sucks, Suerae! Especially when his hopes were finally raised that he reached the end of his travails…
    I wish my magic wand had working batteries… I would wave it to solve the situation!
    Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA @ recently posted..Grow, Grow, GrowMy Profile

    • suerae says:

      Oh Roy, I also wish your wand was in good working order! I guess we’ll just have to use our best human traits… patience and resolve. Thank you for your kind words!

  4. Tana Bevan says:

    Healing thoughts for all! Fingers crossed something good comes of this.
    Tana Bevan recently posted..More Than a DoodleMy Profile

  5. Ann Mullen says:

    Suerae, do you think Ben would be interested in coaching some little kids in soccer? He may be out of school, but he is not out of life and he needs something to keep him from vegetating.

    He can also take some online classes to keep up with his course work as long as it transfers to his physical school.

    I am so sorry that there is so much trauma in his life, but because he is so young, he may also need some grief counseling. That sounds funny, but isn’t he grieving for his inability to do what he loves? Lot’s of us old folks do plenty of grieving over health issues.

    I am the mommy who has a need to try to solve problems. I hope you take it in the spirit it is given. I love you.
    Ann Mullen recently posted..(Article Under Construction) Suddenly Poor–The Great Recession, Foreclosure, PovertyMy Profile

    • suerae says:

      I like to be a problem solver too, Ann, and I am so appreciative for your trying. Ben has helped coach young kids in the past and does enjoy it. The season isn’t quite right for that, but we are hoping that he will find a job once he feels up to it. He should have a jump on all the other college kids looking for spring/summer work. And it will be good to get him out of the house and perhaps saving up for the fall. Thanks again! xxoo

  6. Betsy says:

    I’m with Roy!! Life can really be a bummer when it deals such tough blows!! Our hearts are aching for you all. If there is anything that we can do, don’t hesitate to ask. I like Ann’s idea of Ben working with some soccer kids….he would really be terrific at that and I’m sure he would like it. Taking online courses would also help keep his mind active and give him some mental goals to go along with the physical ones!
    Hugs and love to everyone!!!

    • suerae says:

      Thanks Mom! Those are all great suggestions and will definitely be kept in mind. Although, I know he would balk at the on-line courses. You know how he is. I think he’s going to treat this like a vacation, although we do want him to get a job once he is back on his feet. That would help keep him busy and productive, which would be good for his mind and body. xxoo

  7. I am with Roy, too. It’s going to be a hard next few months or maybe even years. I can only wish your son and the other two young men involved the rest. Sometimes, life just plain sucks.
    Alana (@RamblinGarden) recently posted..The L.L. Bean CoatMy Profile

  8. Muriel says:

    What a bummer! What a year! I can’t believe that Ben has to deal with so much at such a young age. I like the idea of online courses to keep him busy. It is all about making the best out of a bad situation. Easier said than done, I know. And yes, maybe Ben needs some coaching/counseling to use this down time as effectively as possible. Just a thought. Take it easy and take care of yourself!
    Muriel recently posted..How Do You Take Your Tea?My Profile

  9. My heart goes out to you Suerae! There’s nothing worse than seeing your kids in pain-whether it be physical or emotional. Luckily, he has great parents to guide him and help him get through it. And he will, but the journey is none to easy! Good luck to all of you.
    alison abbott recently posted..3 Days in YangonMy Profile

  10. So sorry to read this. Ben seems a good and athletic boy. Send my regards and wishing him a full recovery. I know how you felt as a mom and I believe you can guide and support him throughout his healing process.

    • suerae says:

      Thank you so much Deborah. He is well on his way to recovery and his spirits have been great considering all he’s been through. We are very lucky!

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