Alexander Ciccone – ACL / MCL Tear

I was playing for a Division 3 university when the unexpected happened. During a routine workout session with some teammates, I felt a sudden pop while doing broad jumps in the gym. I couldn’t get back up, and it became apparent that something was seriously wrong with my knee. Rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, the diagnosis was a dislocated knee, and it was recommended that I see an orthopedic doctor.

Fortunately, my brother Jacob had been a patient of Dr. Ahmad, who had performed a successful internal brace procedure on his UCL just a month prior. Without hesitation, Dr. Ahmad took me in for surgery. The procedure revealed not only a torn MCL but also a complete ACL tear with some bone bruising. Despite the challenging prognosis, Dr. Ahmad assured my parents that the surgery was a success, though the road to recovery would be long and arduous.

Returning home, I faced not only the physical pain but also the academic pressure as it was the end of the semester at my old college, which didn’t offer remote learning options. With my injured knee unable to bear weight, I had to learn to navigate daily tasks with crutches and descending stairs on my butt. Despite the setbacks, I remained determined.

My determination led me to Uber to the nearest rehabilitation facility near my college four days a week, using crutches to meet the driver across campus. Despite the challenges, I completed my finals, opting to redshirt from my old team and venture into the transfer portal to find a more suitable athletic and academic environment. In June, I was offered a spot at Kean University, where I met Coach Ioviero and Coach Matera, feeling an instant connection.

Even amidst my transfer and academic responsibilities, I prioritize my physical therapy, attending sessions four times a week throughout the summer while also practicing throwing into a fence sitting on a bucket to maintain my skills. I continued Ubering to therapy sessions three times a week come September, knowing the upcoming season in February demanded my best physical condition.

Throughout this journey, I kept in close contact with Dr. Ahmad and Frank, who provided unwavering support. Working tirelessly through the Christmas break, I gradually regained confidence, throwing off a mound for the first time just nine months after surgery. With the encouragement of my coaches at Kean, I took the mound on February 16th, 2024, and delivered my first official pitch—a strike, captured on video.

Though the journey isn’t over, I am committed to proving to myself that I can overcome any obstacle and achieve the goals I’ve set.