It's hard to believe that just three and a half months ago, Rachel Wilson had ACL surgery. While each stride is a testament to her strength and doctor's expertise, she still has plenty more rehab to go.
"We're working her lower body getting some leg strength and endurance, we've started at a walking phase, increased to a walking phase with incline and now we're working into the running phase. We've been doing the running phase here for a few weeks now and we're really working her lungs now." Said Cameron Ditlevson, and athletic trainer at the Avera Sports Institute.
Rachel is working hard to get back on the basketball court. While running isn't a new thing for her; doing it on a surgically repaired knee takes some getting used to.
"Yeah, especially that first time it was like whoa this is kind of weird! Now it's like getting back into shape." Said Wilson.
While she may be ready to work, Cameron is starting Rachel out slowly to make sure she doesn't aggravate her recovery.
"The main things we're looking at is a good knee drive making sure she's not striking with her heel at all, you really want to run up on the ball of your foot because running non technically sound you're going to cause more injury." Said Ditlevson.
Running is just one element of Rachel's rehab. Her workout regimen is tailor-made to her specific sports to make sure she's ready to return to competition.
"Football is different than basketball which is different than soccer, so we work on individual sports, what position you play what do we need to do and what do you need to do in that particular sport in that position and we try and see if we can tie the rehab to that." Said Physical Therapist Roy Osborn.
Roy runs Rachel through several cutting drills to test her knee's strength. Since Rachel injured her knee this summer by jumping on home plate and landing incorrectly, these drills are very important.
"That's one of the areas in women's basketball a lot of injuries occur, upon landing, so we have to work on the landing mechanics to fix that." Said Osborn.
This box jump is the first time Rachel has jumped since the leap that tore up her knee. While it seems simple, she's putting all her trust in her knee and the doctor that repaired it.
"You kind of have to have that mentality or else you get overwhelmed." Said Wilson.
With many athletes coming off of serious injuries, trainers like Cameron not only have to coach back health, but confidence as well.
"We've got to be the motivator, we've got to push them beyond where they're comfortable a lot of time's she's ready to be done but I've got to make sure she keeps going." Said Ditlevson.
And with that motivation, Rachel continues to safely push herself and everyday is closer and closer to getting back in the game.
"Rachel's been doing great every step of the way, her motion came back she work really hard at getting her motion back, she's working really hard on her strengthening program and doing a great job with it." Said Osborn.
Rachel's surgery was in July and she is targeting a return to the basketball court in January. However, there is a game on December 28th that she's got her eyes set on.
For more information about the Avera Sports Institute or ACL surgery call 877-AT-AVERA.