Learn why Vera Koo accepts and moves forward through accident and injury, again and again, and about how she looks for, and accepts, God’s plan in the process.
The manner in which I tore the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in my left knee on Jan. 1 was, in a word, ridiculous. There is really no other way to describe it.
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Because of my extensive efforts toward shooting, I had not vigorously skied in about 5 years. I had decided it was not worth the risk, because I had spent too much time preparing for shooting matches to risk injury from another sport.
However, that day in January at Squaw Valley Resort in California was supposed to be a light day of skiing with my family. I planned to go down the slopes a couple times before retiring to the restaurant for coffee and dessert with my husband.
I am a skilled, experienced skier. I have come down double-black diamond slopes. I am very familiar with Squaw Valley, having skied there for 27 years.
A couple trips down the slope should have been no trouble. And yet, I never even skied. No sooner had I gotten off the lift chair than my skis got tangled with my granddaughter’s. I fell to the ground. I heard a pop, and I screamed in pain.
In the moments after the injury, I did not feel regret. I did not feel sorrow, nor anger.
The injury occurred in such a ridiculous manner that there is no questioning it was part of God’s plan. I strongly believe everything happens for a reason. I am not to question God’s plan. He has used injuries in the past to teach me lessons.
My knee injury brought to mind a series of injuries I sustained about 6 or 7 years ago. Each injury got progressively worse.
In the first instance, I was trying to close a bathroom window without stepping out of the shower when I fell out of the tub and bruised my thigh.
A short time after that, I wanted to grab a cooler from a shelf in the garage. I could not reach the cooler from where I was standing. Instead of tracking down a ladder or a stool, I stepped on a round generator for a boost. I had done it many times before, but this time I was wearing slippers. When I reached for the cooler, I fell backward and landed on the cement on my tailbone and elbow. A doctor later told me I was lucky I did not sustain a more significant injury from that fall.
The third and final injury in that series also occurred in the bathroom. I apply my hairspray over the tub, and that area is slippery. Sure enough, I slipped and fell, hitting my head. That caused blood to gush from my head like ketchup from a bottle. Yet, once again, I had avoided any major injury.
After this series of injuries, I wondered why I had fallen 3 times in such a short period. I went to see a doctor, but there was nothing wrong with my brain or balance. I also went to see an intuitive counselor and asked when my streak of bad luck would end.
The counselor told me that once I started paying better attention to what I was doing, the falls would stop. The counselor was right.
Each time, my falls could have left me in worse condition than they did. They were a warning. When life lessons are dealt to you, if you learn fast, you can avoid future problems. It took me a while to learn, but I finally understood the lesson.
I needed to be more cautious and stop trying to cut corners. Each fall was a result of me trying to save a couple minutes of time or simply being careless. The falls were God’s way of telling me I have to slow down.
God always has been merciful when it comes to my injuries. When I tripped over a rope after a shooting practice in April 2013, resulting in me fracturing the tibia and fibula in my right leg and chipping a bone in my ankle, I could have been left with great pain in the aftermath. The injury occurred while I was practicing in Columbia, Mo., and I returned to California with 156 pain pills that the doctor had prescribed. I only took maybe 5 or 6.
The injury was a humbling experience, but not a terribly painful one.
The same has been true in the aftermath of this knee injury. I was not left with great pain from the surgery to repair the injury or throughout my rehabilitation. Once again, God was kind.
I do not know yet what God’s plan is for me as it pertains to this latest injury. Shortly after the injury, I had some ideas of what His plan might be.
It might be that God was telling me I needed to spend more time at home. With my dedication to shooting, I am frequently on the run, training for an upcoming competition or shooting at events across the country.
Maybe He was offering me a chance to take more time to focus on my writing projects. I have been working on a book for some time, but a few months before the injury, the project hit a snag. It is a project I plan to see through to its completion, despite the hiccups that have come up previously.
Maybe it is time I begin thinking about starting a small business. Given my lifelong interest in art, I have given consideration to possibly starting a design company.
The truth is, even though I had some ideas for what God’s plan was, I do not know for sure. Sometimes His plan is not revealed until a year or 2 down the road. I am OK waiting for the answer.
God has always been kind to me, and even in these instances of adversity, I have learned to trust His plan.
Vera Koo is a first-generation Chinese American woman. She’s a wife and mother, author, entrepreneur and retired competition shooter. Along with Vera’s fantastic memoir and life story, "The Most Unlikely Champion," she writes her column, Vera Koo, at "Women’s Outdoor News." View all posts by Vera Koo
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