I’m not exactly sure why but when I ruptured my Achilles I started to do research on professional athletes who suffered Achilles tear rupture. I didn’t pay much attention to it before but once it happens to you, you tend to see how you associate with them and observe their recovery. Most of the readers of this blog are likely not to be playing sports for a living but it is good to see how athletes recover knowing they have the best medical practitioners and recovery including physical therapists at their disposal. Here is the list I compiled.
1) Kobe Bryant – probably the most famous world athlete who recently suffered an complete tear on his Achilles. As a Lakers fan, I remember vividly as I was watching this game live on TV. It was April 12, 2013, in the 3rd quarter against the Golden State Warriors. Lakers were making a push to the playoffs in the 2013 season. Kobe was playing a lot of minutes going into this game and you could tell he wanted to reach the playoffs. He spotted and got the basketball on the left wing and dribbled and fell. At first, it simply looked like he slipped and a foul was called. Harrison Barnes took a step back surprised at the foul call. Everyone noticed that Kobe wouldn’t get up. He couldn’t get up. His face grimaced as he led onto his left food with both hands. I recalled he asked Barnes a question. Later, we found out he asked if anyone kicked him. That feeling of being “kicked” when the Achilles snapped is consistent and how I felt exactly when I suffered my rupture playing basketball. What is amazing is that Kobe gathered himself, stood up, shot the 2 free throws and essentially hobbled his way off the court on his own.
Kobe’s recovery lasted a good 4-6 months. However, he made indication that he blew past any recovery timeline. It wasn’t until the following season some 9-10 months later did we see him in action and he was at 100%. He is still playing at a high level and needless to say, he made a 100% recovery.
2) David Beckham – On March 14, 2010, David Beckham suffered a torn Achilles during a game while on a loan from LA Galaxy to A.C. Milan. The actual event can be seen here on Youtube. What is amazing is that he didn’t fall or crumble to the ground when the injury happen. He remained standing and was able to pass the ball even rupturing his Achilles! Here is a video of him on the Late Night Show with David Lettermen where he details his injury in early May. He is already walking just shy of 2 months of his injury with a crutch. The rupture crushed his dream of participating in his 4th world up at South Africa that Summer. Don’t we wish we could explain our injury with a British accent eh?
David Beckham made a full recovery and returned to the pitch with LA Galaxy on Sept. 11, 2010 as a sub and palyed 20 min. It was just 3 days shy of 6 months since his rupture. He even won a few championships with LA Galaxy.
3) NFL – Robert Mathis, Derrick Johnson, and Mike DeVito – In a rare circumstance, three NFL players went down with ruptured Achilles after week one of the 2014 NFL season. The previous year, 10 players suffered Achilles injury (bleacherreport.com). Sean Weatherspoon suffered a torn Achilles during practice with the Atlanta Falcons. On the third week, DeAngelo Hall from the Washington Redskins suffered a torn Achilles tendon. A month after his surgery, Hall re-ruptured his Achilles when he was in his kitchen getting a pizza! He had to undergo surgery again to repair his Achilles. This story made me realize I need to be extremely careful not to re-rupture my just repaired Achilles.
4) Other notables – Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks. Dominique also known as the “Human Highlight Film” ruptured his Achilles but came back and played another 7 seasons in the NBA. Elton Brand suffered an Achilles injury when he was with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2007 during practice. He is still in the NBA today playing for the Atlanta Hawks. Isaiah Thomas ruptured his Achilles in April 1994 which ended his career and never played another NBA game.
other notables, Al Gore, Brad Pitt, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson,