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Christen Press shares ‘raw emotion’ after fourth knee surgery

Christen Press and Tobin Heath speak at their Re-Inc Women's World Cup Watch Party in Los Angeles on July 21. (Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for RE-INC)

Christen Press shared her “raw emotion” in the aftermath of her fourth knee surgery in 13 months as she continues her recovery from an ACL tear.

The U.S. women’s national team and Angel City FC forward tore her ACL in June 2022. Since then, she has had an “unfathomable” four surgeries — “one ACL repair, three scopes,” as she described on the latest episode of “The Re-Cap Show.”

The latest surgery came on July 18, and she remains hopeful it will bring a better result than the previous procedures. Still, she admitted the difficulty of coming to terms with a fourth surgery.

“The hardest thing about the news was really just like, the feeling of insanity,” she said to Tobin Heath. “Like how do we keep having a scope? Like how do we keep doing the same thing and expect a different result? And like the fear that starts to sink in of, well, this is just going to happen again.”

Still, she says she’s remained “incredibly optimistic” and has complete faith in her surgeon and physical therapy team.

“I believe every single time that I’m going to have the best outcome to the point where like now I’m like, I think I might be naive. Like, it’s too optimistic,” she said. “But that’s how I have to go into surgery to get through.”

Ahead of the surgery, Press took to Instagram to update fans on her status. While she had posted videos of herself training throughout the 2023 NWSL season, she had been told in February that an additional surgery might be required, she wrote. While Press still held out hope that she could play in the World Cup team for the USWNT, she did not recover in time to make the roster.

Yet while her journey has been, “on paper, an athlete’s recovery-nightmare,” Press remains upbeat about “the mountain” she has to climb to return to soccer.

“It’s been a week of highs and lows and all the things. I’m glad my post-surgical brain fog is subsiding,” she said on “The Re-Cap Show.”

“I think that I see myself as very in tune with my emotions. And also I see myself as very honest,” she said of her Instagram post. “I wanted to tell people how I was doing while I was doing it. … I thought it was a new perspective to say like, I have to have surgery, I’m sharing that I have to have surgery, not that I had a successful surgery. And just give a little bit of the raw emotion of what that was like.

“Literally, it was a couple days after we came from the doctor’s office. And we were trying to process how this could possibly be.”

Still, she admitted that the hardest part of her recovery has been dealing “with what everybody else thinks” and the swirl of news coverage surrounding her injury.

“That’s so weird to me. But I do it because I want to control my narrative,” she said. “And even though that’s why I’m doing it, I don’t get to control the narrative. So I put out this piece and my whole thing that I wanted to write was like, from the outside world, this looks like a recovery-nightmare. But I believe that I am living the dream because climbing the mountain is the dream. And that was really important to me to say.”