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Taking a Step Back

Updated: Feb 10, 2019

With every ending in life comes the closure to leave it behind, or at least this is what we would all like to believe. People often spend moments in their life chasing the proper end to relationships or events. While it is easier to walk away from such moments with seemingly perfect timing, this does not always happen and we are left to figure out what to take away from a situation.


For myself, this idea became true when one of my greatest passions ended as I was on the cusp of achieving my goals. Growing up with an active family lifestyle, I started sports at a young age. This grew into focus in my life as I worked hard to make a seemingly far out dream become a reality. I started playing football at the age of five on the youth leagues in my town - while some might argue it was even before then because of growing up with two brothers. Soon after, I was playing middle school football with my friends and in route to become a successful high school athlete. Many individuals’ dreams stopped after the Friday nights of varsity football under stadium lights, but that was not the case for me. I was then recruited to play college football at an NCAA Division II school in Iowa after the end of high school. In the fall of 2017, I arrived on campus excited to start my dream and to continue my education. Although it was out of my own personal element to be around so many people, once I stepped onto a field, no matter where I was, the childhood love for the game took over and I felt at home once again.


Unfortunately, my dream was cut short after a couple months due to an injury that had taken place at practice. During a defensive training drill, I fractured the patella in my right knee. This sudden burst of pain stemmed from a stress fracture that occurred in the summer from lifting weights. The injury happened during the middle of the season and I was out for rest of my freshman season. During that time, I began to lose myself and not understand my purpose was any longer. I had worked for thirteen years to get to my destination, I was devastated. I thought “what now?” What was I supposed to do sitting in a dorm room with crutches, a thousand dollar knee brace, and no sights of returning. I was so upset about the injury and my first ever season as a college football player was over. I felt numb to everything I use to enjoy before getting injured.


I started to eat and gain weight without noticing because I truthfully didn't care anymore. I had put my body through more work to get to a place where I wasn’t even happy. After moving back home and removing myself from the environment at school, I finally realized the way I was living and what I was eating wasn’t healthy. I couldn’t keep living that way because it was affecting me on every level possible.


It took me almost a year to realize my health was off track, but I found a breakthrough and since the summer of 2018, I’ve decided to take my own life back with nutrition and lifetime health. I have decided that although a fractured bone isn’t a career ending injury, it was my body telling me to reevaluate my real passion. It may have been an unconventional way to end a long-term experience, but with my newfound freedom to live a life unattached to sacrificing my future health to a sport, I have found that stepping away from my greatest passion has, in fact, given me closure.


Pictured: December 2017 - August 2018 transformation


About the Author: Dan Crawley is a current student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse studying Exercise and Sport Science. He found his passion in healthy living and nutrition after an unfortunate injury ending his collegiate football career. Growing up in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, Dan has always had an active lifestyle and enjoys sharing his knowledge and passion of health with others. After graduation, he plans to continue to work with clients as a personal trainer.






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