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  • Mick Hughes

The Beauty of Saying "Yes"..

I sometimes get asked about how I got into presenting on the topic of ACL injuries. I tell them that it started with the word "YES". 

It's often met with a polite smile and the person backpedaling, wishing that they hadn't asked! 

But for those of you that are still here reading and interested, here's my story on how saying "Yes" enabled me to share high quality ACL research that is helping patients and clinicians all over the world.

Not many people know this, but believe it or not, I have a crippling fear of public speaking. From early on when I had to deliver speeches in primary school and high school; I was a sweaty, shaking, quivering mess before, during and after my speech. That lead onto University and professional working life, where either presenting or in a room full of new people having to say who you are, what you do etc etc, I was having heart palpitations and cold sweats 3 people before it was my turn! But something happened last year and I decided I had to make a change. 

It was not long after I had been asked to present a case study of ACLR rehab management of an elite athlete at an ACL conference. It was a big conference and a big deal. I'd seen it advertised and I'd planned on going as a delegate; and here I was being asked to speak!

The line-up of speakers was world class; published academics and highly experienced sports physiotherapists. And then there was me. A physio who was lucky enough to be working with an elite sporting club, who was occasionally posting videos on Twitter jumping and landing in his work pants and dress shoes.. I was very honoured to be asked but petrified of what I had to do; and that was get up in front of a room full of world experts in the field, and my peers, and talk through the case of an elite athlete who sustained a 2nd ACL injury under my watch. I felt like a fraud. I mean who was I to be giving my opinion and advice on what other people should be doing with their ACLR patients; and more importantly, what would the experts think about my management? Despite my head screaming out NO to the invitation, my gut and my heart said YES, and I was locked in. I said YES because I firmly believe in the power of saying YES and the opportunities that it can bring. Side note: You shouldn't say YES to drugs. That stuff will lead you down a terrible pathway! Drugs are bad mmmmkay. Anyway, I digress..

Since I over-ruled my head, I thought that I better get some practice in for my gut, heart and central nervous system before the ACL conference. So 2 months out I scoured all corners of the internet looking for the latest in ACL research. 

Over this time, I collected as much Information as I could, learnt a hell of a lot of things that I didn't know about ACLs, and eventually collated a 90min presentation on ACL injury management and decided to share it with anyone who wanted to listen in Melbourne. I put up an event on Facebook and shared it on my social media pages and surprisingly, within a few days, it had sold out. And despite the first night jitters, it was well received and so I decided to run another 2 weeks later. Then it sold out too. So I ran another 2 weeks after that, it also sold out! After each one of my presentations my confidence grew and the presentations became more fluid. I was genuinely blown away by the positive feedback I was receiving, but more importantly I was really proud that I was able to share the latest in high quality research surrounding ACL injury prevention and ACL injury management so that clinicial practice could begin to change. At the same time I was also getting asked by people if I could travel to share the presentation to their workplace and local community of health professionals. Now as much as I would have loved to travel and visit places I've never been before, logistics were always against me. So I decided to record the 90min presentation and put it up online and hope for the best. Then it was well received too. 

Not long after all of this, came the day of the ACL conference, and despite some technical difficulties (and usual butterflies), people apparently liked what I had to say about the ACLR management of an elite female athlete. Since then I have been asked to present at another 3 conferences/symposiums, and have produced 2 more online ACL tutorials to help clinicians and patients all around the world to do their best in improving outcomes in their ACLR patients. All of this by telling my head to shut up, and let my gut and heart say a tiny but very powerful word: YES. I hope you have enjoyed my story of the power of saying YES. Why don't you give it a try? Do you have a YES story? Why dont you share it with me; I'd love to hear it! You can watch as much of my online ACL Masterclass with Randall Cooper, whenever you like, wherever you like by simply clicking on the link here

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