The Broken Leg Test
The recruiting process can be a very thrilling and even a flattering process. Having all of these coaches show interest in you is exciting. It can also make it difficult to remember the bigger picture:
Being a collegiate athlete is an incredible experience…but it isn’t the only one. Many experiences will be equally memorable after college.
During your recruiting process, you need to sit down and think if this school will be the best fit for you. A good way to do this is to take the Broken Leg Test.
The Broken Leg Test is a mental test where you envision what it would be like if you broke your leg and could no longer play your sport. Would you still be happy with your decision?
My First Real Test
I played basketball at Franklin & Marshall College. Every preseason, we played pickup games twice a week for two hours. One pickup game during my sophomore season, I stole the ball from a teammate and went for a breakaway. I went up for a layup, was blocked, and came down hard on my knee.
I never felt that much physical pain in my life.
After practice, I felt better. I thought it was just a little tweak, nothing too serious.
It wasn’t until the next morning after meeting with our athletic trainer that I learned I tore my ACL.
I was… crushed.
And frustrated with myself.
I kept thinking, how could I let this happen? What could I have done to prevent this?
It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I would be out for the full season. That I would have to sit and watch my teammates play and practice without me. And that I would have to limp around campus for months.
But I was only a sophomore; I had a long career ahead of me! I did physical therapy at practice and cheered my teammates on. I knew it was only a matter of time before I could get back on the court.
In the meantime, I began to explore what else my campus had to offer.
So, Did I Pass?
To keep busy, I got involved in more clubs and organizations around campus. As a government and public policy major, I was able to intern in political offices, as well as work on a political campaign. I worked in the athletic facilities, where I was assistant to the Senior Associate Director of Athletics. I was the Social Media Coordinator and Vice President of Franklin & Marshall’s Athletic Leadership Council and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. I was also a teacher’s aide at the local elementary school.
Because of these diverse experiences, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Franklin & Marshall. If it were not for my involvement on campus, I’m not sure I would have been able to pass my Broken Leg Test.
The Final Test
After a successful first season back from my torn ACL, I was excited to get my senior season underway. I was super nervous to start my first day of practice. I wanted to show my coach and teammates that I was ready to lead our team.
Halfway through practice, we were going through plays. I faked my defender, my knee cracked, and I went down.
I couldn’t even walk. I literally had to crawl underneath the basket just to get off the court. After all those months of physical therapy, conditioning, and training – it happened again.
I tore my ACL and Meniscus.
I would never play competitively again. This was hard to comprehend.
Even though I couldn’t play, I stayed my final season. My teammates and coaches voted me captain. My family, teammates, coaches, and friends helped me get through the injury aftermath. Being heavily involved on campus also made this recovery so much easier.
Before applying to Franklin & Marshall, I wrote down everything I loved about the school. While athletics were at the top of my list, there were so many other reasons why I ended up applying.
I loved the size of the student-body, the campus, the facilities, the distance from my home, and just the feeling I had when first walking around campus.
Only after getting hurt did I fully appreciate that I had passed my Broken Leg Test. I found the right fit.
No matter your division, you need to consider that there may be a point when you can no longer play. If that is the case, will you still be happy?
If your answer is no, then that school may not be the right fit for you in the long run.
If the answer is yes, then congratulations!
You have passed the Broken Leg Test.
Want to read more about choosing a school that passes the Broken Leg Test?