Atlanta United star Josef Martinez feeling like himself following torn ACL

Illustration by Adam Montez | The Signal

In everything, we make choices, and those choices lead to success or consequences from our actions. For athletes, putting their bodies through hard training and regiments can lead to being successful in their same sport.  

Becoming successful does not come easy, and if it did, hard work wouldn’t be as seldom as it is. And since that’s not the case, everyone’s journey has a few hurdles and speed bumps where they need to obtain what they truly achieve.  

We have seen some of the world’s greatest athletes ever seen deal with injuries and bounce back just fine. The grissom leg injuries of Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George and former Louisville and Kevin Ware are just two examples. Both Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant and Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant tore an Achilles, and Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson has missed two prime years due to a torn ACL and torn Achilles. 

In the MLS, Atlanta United star Josef Martinez is looking like his old self after getting surgery to replace a torn ACL last March. His recovery and road back to normal peaked a few weeks ago when he scored his first goal in over a year during a match against Inter Miami CF. Being back on tv, being out there with his teammates, and most importantly, playing the game he loves is a beautiful feeling and boosts confidence for him internally. 

“I’m very happy to be back on the field because I was out for a long time,” Martinez told ESPN through a translator. “But it’s also still difficult going through the day-by-day and trying to get my rhythm and everything back on the field.”

Seeing other elite athletes bounce back from an injury of that magnitude could allow Martinez to see the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter each day.

Getting back to your regular self and from injuries can have moments of loneliness and depression for not playing the game someone genuinely loves and has a passion for soccer. For many athletes, it’s like losing a piece of you inside, and no one wants to go through that.

“When you don’t play, you’re not a soccer player anymore,” he said. “When you’re a soccer player, you have everything [in] your hands. But when you’re not playing, you’re not scoring goals; you’re not playing games, you’re not on TV, you just become a normal person. I think sometimes people forget about that.”

Being back on tv, out there with his teammates and most importantly, playing the game he loves are beautiful feelings that positively influence Martinez’s confidence. 

Martinez and Atlanta United will return to the pitch on June 20 when they travel north to face Philadelphia Union.