My name is Jake Novoshelski and I play for the New York Red Bulls U17 soccer academy team. During a game on 4/23/17 I came together with another player and he ended up hitting my knee while my foot was planted. I heard 2 “pops” along with some tremendous pain and hit the ground. As I lay there, all I could think about was that my season was done and possibly my future career. Soccer has been a part of my life since I was 4 years old. My trainer told me she believed it was my ACL and it would be a full year before I could play again.
After having an MRI which confirmed I had ruptured my ACL as well as 2 meniscus tears, the Red Bulls recommended that I see Dr. Riley Williams since he was their 1st team doctor. As soon as I met Dr. Williams and his PA, Melissa, I knew immediately that he was the one who would repair my knee and give me every opportunity to continue to play. Dr. Williams assured me that surgery is all he does every day. He would do his part to get me fixed, and the rest would be up to me and how dedicated I was to the physical therapy. He also reminded me that he had just performed this surgery for Red Bull’s Connor Lade, who has also had a successful return to the pitch. Dr. Riley Williams performed my surgery on 5/17/17, 2 days after my 15th birthday.
I’m not going to lie, it was a long road back. I put in 5 months of physical therapy 5 days a week. I started with Jags physical therapy 3 days a week in Hackensack N.J. I’ve known them for a few years now due to previous injuries. My head therapist is the best. Besides being just an amazing person, he played professional soccer and knows all of my Red Bull coaches. I knew he wouldn’t let me return until I was ready. The entire Jags staff made me feel like I was part of their family.
The other 2 days I would spend with the Red Bull trainers, James Horan and Hilary Bell. While Jags gave me the flexibility and strengthening, James and Hilary helped me with returning to the pitch with more soccer specific exercises. It was also great to be back around my teammates during the whole process.
In January, I was cleared for full return after 8 months. Without everyone’s dedication, including my own, this wouldn’t have been possible. I am stronger than I was before my injury and was able to contribute to my team immediately. I again want to thank Dr. Williams and his entire staff, as well as everyone who helped me out along the way. I highly recommend the team of experts that I used for anyone who has had an ACL injury!