125 Voices - Tina - Fifty Lives


Tissue Recipient

Tina Vannatta

Seven years ago I underwent my first ACL reconstruction surgery. At the time, I had no idea donated tissue was used during that surgery.

It was the summer before my junior year of high school when I tore my left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while playing soccer. I was devastated. Since I was a young girl, I had always wanted to play soccer at the collegiate level. Typically, college coaches recruited girls during their junior year of high school. I could see my dream of playing in college slipping away. Thankfully, I had ACL reconstruction surgery soon after the initial injury and I was on the road to recovery. After six long and hard months of physical therapy, I was released to play again. I was beyond excited. My chances of getting recruited were still high.

But during my second game back, I tore my left ACL again. Once again, my dreams were shattered. Despite this setback, I underwent surgery and physical therapy again and was released to play right before my senior season of high school soccer. I made it through the season without any problems and was fortunate to get the opportunity to attend a college showcase tournament with my travel soccer team. I had not given up hope and was excited to play in front of college soccer coaches.

Unfortunately, I tore my right ACL during the second game of the college showcase. At that point, I had decided I was not meant to play soccer in college. I underwent ACL reconstruction surgery for the third time and endured the six long months of physical therapy; however, I did not return to soccer.

The next year, I attended Ball State University and completed my freshman year of college. Although I enjoyed every minute of that year, I knew something was missing and that something was soccer. I missed not only playing but also being apart of a team. So I decided to tryout for the Ball State Women's soccer team. After training hard and not losing hope, I successfully walked onto the team. I secured a starting position and was chosen as a captain my second and third years on the team. My dream of playing soccer in college came true!

Recently, I found out that the tissues used in all three of my ACL surgeries were donated. Without those tissue donations, I would not have had the opportunity to play soccer in college. Although my path was a bit bumpy, the donated tissue allowed me to fulfill one of the dreams I had since I was a young girl; to play soccer in college. Although my soccer career is over, I still play on an adult indoor soccer league, run in races (5ks up to a marathon), and lead an active lifestyle. I am so thankful for the individuals who donated the tissue that was used in all of my surgeries. Without their generosity, I would not be able to do half the activities I enjoy today.