You have so much knowledge. You know what I someday hope to, and you know a very unique version of my story. You know what my body looks like. You know how it functions, where it lacks, what works and what doesn’t. You know what needs to be fixed, what can be left alone, and what should be kept track of. And to top it all off, you know the medical terminology to back it up. Specific to me, you know my treatment plan. You know my predicted outcome, the likelihood of success, the number of months recovery will take. You know all of these things. And yet, today, you’re telling me that you don’t know the most important thing: how I will ever throw a ball again.

So, in not knowing this simple fact, this very simple action, you know my entire future. You know that I will never play again. You know that I will never put on cleats or a jersey or feel the thrill of competition. You know that I will never again be an athlete. You know that one day, not so far in the future, I will start to forget. I won’t be able to remember what it sounds like when a ball cracks on a bat, or the sound of metal spikes on pavement, or the smell of sunflower seeds in a dugout.

But there is a lot that you don’t know too.

You don’t know how much that one sentence destroys me. You don’t know that my heart just broke, that you just wiped away my biggest dream, that you stole my passion. You don’t know that I will cry myself to sleep tonight, and again when I wake tomorrow morning and remember what today held, and for many nights after. You don’t know that I will meet with my coach in a week and have the hardest conversation of my life, or that I will spend the next six months figuring out who I am without my sport. You don’t know what I am losing, what you are taking, what I can no longer believe in.

But you are who I trust. You are the sole person I gave control to when I was unconscious – you were my hope from that very first moment I tore my labrum. And you did everything you could, but today, right now, in this very moment, that wasn’t enough. I’m not saying you aren’t good enough or smart enough – we’ve established that you know quite a lot. But today, you are the person that holds my future. And today, you told me that you don’t know. That you can’t. That you won’t. That I never will. You gave me back my future with its very core missing. And now I have to now know the very thing I never wanted to – how to survive without my sport. And later, how to thrive in its absence. You don’t know. Neither do I. So who does?

The Future Surgeon