March, 2016. Talys Jurdana jumps up for a rebound in club basketball practice and tears her ACL by landing wrong. Two months later, in May, has surgery, and starts the recovery process.
Less than a year later, in January of 2017, seven months post-op, she tore the same ACL again during a game.
Each year, between 250,000 and 300,000 people, almost entirely athletes, suffer from an ACL injury. The ACL, the smallest of four ligaments in the knee, helps control rotational movement. Most physicians recommend that athletes take 6 months off before returning to their sport after an ACL injury, but some advise taking an entire year off.
Although basketball doesn’t cause as many ACL injuries as football or soccer, sports medicine physicians have seen a recent uptick in ACL injuries within the NBA, according to the Andrews Institute of Orthopedics and Medicine. This is due to the high amount of cutting, or changing direction at a high speed, that occurs in the sport. Some physicians also believe the hardwood floor plays a role.
By the time high school basketball season rolled around this past November, Talys had a decision to make. She had spent enough time in therapy and recovering after her second surgery in February, that she technically was able to play. She had joined the AMHS swim team, creating a competitive outlet and helping her knee by using it with no impact. That decision on whether or not to play her senior season was one of the hardest she’s ever had to make.
“I was letting go of my last high school season, and the last chance to play alongside my best friends,” she said. However, she said the decision ended up being very clear after one of Archbishop Murphy’s IRG physical therapists, Robb Lamb, asked her, “Would you rather play one mediocre risky high school season, or four good years in college with a healthy knee?”
Playing college basketball has been one of Talys’ dreams since she was a little girl. Last August, she visited the University of Redlands and fell in love with the campus, the people, and the basketball program. After visiting again in October, she knew Redlands was her “dream school” and she signed on to play with them soon after.
Knowing that she had a college basketball career ahead of her didn’t take away the pain of watching her team play without her this season, however. “Not being able to play this year was really hard for me. I just love the game and playing with my teammates so much,” she told me. “I really had to change my mindset from being a player to an assistant coach.”
This change of mindset helped her realize that someday she wants to be a basketball coach, and she now coaches the 8th grade girls North Creek select team and is a full time trainer at Trust Basketball in Mukilteo.
The rest of the Wildcat girls basketball team wasn’t ready to let Talys go without playing at least a few minutes this season. So on February 2, 2018, the basketball program’s senior night, Talys started for the first time in almost two years. “It was all I could’ve hoped for,” she said, “To be honest I was really nervous, but the minute I heard everybody cheering all my fears stopped.” And she was right. Everybody was cheering.
Every time she went up for a basket, students would stand in anticipation, parents would hold their breath, and all of her teammates were ready to get the ball back to her. She went in and out of the game, resting her knee, talking to Coach Snyder, and, at halftime, practicing more three pointers. Her moment finally came after she was fouled with just under three minutes left in the game.
She sunk one point. And then another. And everyone cheered.
Then with 1:41 left in the game, she finally sunk the three pointer everyone had been waiting for the whole night. And it was amazing.
“Most people would look at what I have gone through in the last two years as tragic, however, I think it has been one of the biggest blessings in my life,” she stated, “I have learned to fight back when life doesn’t go your way, and that working hard is the best way to reach your dreams.”