Griffen: A Story of Injury and Recovery

I’d like to share a story with you of being on top, getting knocked down, and then coming back strong.

In life, this happens; as adults, we’ve grown to expect it.

But can you imagine how it feels to a young teen who felt like his game was FINALLY coming together for him?

It can be heartbreaking and soul-crushing.  

Thankfully, this young athlete has parents that are in it to win it with him!

I had the pleasure to work with Susan and Griffen in my signature program Raising Elite Level Athletes, but before I get into the details, Susan shares the story of Griffen’s injury and recovery:

“Griffen began hitting his stride a game or two into his 8th grade basketball season, putting up good numbers for Lake Travis Middle School under Coach Jason Strilzuk. The team hadn’t lost going into a local Austin tournament on Saturday, January 19th. Playing the 5 but more like a power forward, he was familiar with driving from years of select basketball.

In the first game, he earned 20 points and was feeling confident even though it was early in the morning. Aggressive play netted him a black eye that immediately puffed up, but the team was happy at their effort. He started the second game off strong also, though this team was even more physical. Since he was the stoutest on the team and a football player, he knew his role was to protect the basket.

Jumping to block a shot, on the lift, he heard a pop on the way up. Unable to land, he crumpled to the ground in pain. He waited on the bench with ice until a wheelchair was found to take him out. It was the team’s only loss for the whole season, going 11-1, winning district.

At the Emergency Room, Griffen learned he broke his left tibial growth plate and severely sprained his ACL and MCL. The swelling was immense and hurt. Mentally, he was devastated having to leave his team and not return that day or that season.

He spent 6 weeks on crutches in a restricting brace, missing the start of his select basketball season, too. It was a tough start to 2019, immobilized and not weight bearing until mid-March when he began physical therapy. Dr. Grayson Moore of Legacy Bone and Joint knew three months was the minimum before Griffen could be released to play.

Griffen still attended all games and practices, did his physical therapy homework and began ab exercises and pushups. He took calcium, magnesium, B complex and vitamin D to help his growth plate and ligaments heal.

Then it was decided as a family to really hone the nutrition so he could get even more help from the inside out. When we learned about Raising Elite Level Athlete, we jumped on the opportunity to help him recover.



About three weeks before Griffen was released by his doctor to play again, Susan enrolled in Raising Elite Level Athletes program.  

The timing was perfect as we had a good amount of time to make simple changes to his sports nutrition and evaluate how the changes supported him so that he was guaranteed high energy for his first tournament.

We focused on the right amount of protein and veggies, then adjusted carbs and fats based on his unique metabolism.

Each week we met on a video call and Susan and Griffen reported if the energy-balanced meals were keeping him full during the day while at school and if he felt like the meals supported high energy.

Griffen no longer felt ravenously hungry after school and each week we spoke he reported his energy was “GREAT.”

In our third week together, Griffen was cleared to practice with his team, which was the perfect time to test how his new eating style supported his energy during practice.  He did wonderfully!

I also taught Susan what questions to ask after practices and games to determine if she needed to tweak his meals before the next practice or game, as they are not all equal; some are more challenging and will require more fuel (food) for energy.  

Gameday nutrition is so important, especially in sports where there are multiple games in a day!

Each week that we met, we focused on ensuring Griffen’s meals were supporting him in school, trainings, practices, and eventually tournament games.

However, we also worked on so much more than nutrition.  We worked on game preparation, mindset and leadership skills, and how to minimize injury.

Griffen took full ownership of what he needed to do in order to step back on the court as a strong player.

He made sure he was prepared for his game by packing all the necessary items he needed in his game bag.

He dialed in hard on nutrition, went to bed early to get quality sleep, and drank enough water to ensure he was hydrated.  He also set personal and team goals for his first tournament which he absolutely crushed!

Griffen’s dedication to being an elite athlete is what allowed him to make changes to his nutrition with ease.  

He’s not messing around, he knows what he wants, and he does what it takes to achieve his goals.

Griffen’s parents are right there with him every step of the way with tons of support, which made coaching them an absolute pleasure!

I got to witness Griffen step back on the court in his first tournament and WOW — I was so impressed by him!

I didn’t know him before he was injured so I cannot speak to his abilities before as a player, but what I witnessed was a determined athlete who did not let his injury beat him.

His goals were to be confident on the court and trust that his leg would support him, to be a contributor to his team, and help his team win championships.

I never once heard “I want to score X amount of points. I want to get this many assists. I, I, I.”  

His goals were all about helping his team be as strong as they could be.  That is leadership.

He was confident, strong, supportive of the team, moved right past mistakes, and was in control of his emotions, which was so amazing to witness!!

I feel so blessed to be a part of his recovery and help guide him on the right path to becoming an Elite Athlete.

Here’s what Susan had to say after completing Raising Elite Level Athlete program:

“I sought out Raising Elite Level Athletes to help me. My 8th-grade son broke his tibial growth plate and substantially sprained ligaments in his knee during a basketball game.

A bigger boy, it’s always been a struggle to feed him well, meeting his nutritional needs, while helping him fuel for energy but not weight gain.

He now needed guidance on recovery, supplements, inflammation and getting physically and mentally back to the high level he left. RELA thoroughly covered key topics, assisting us.

We spent ample time with Kris covering aspects of his game that even a well-informed parent might miss (nutrition/recovery/inflammation/mental readiness/game readiness/leadership/self-assessment).

Kris has a plethora of knowledge on factors I didn’t think of, from nutrition to positive leadership skills.

Having her teach him, too, fully equipped him to take ownership on the long journey of athletics and he’s 100% more ready than ever before! 

We couldn’t have done it nearly as well without her and this program. We’re eternally grateful for the professional yet personable package RELA is!


Are you raising an athlete that has the same dedication to his/her sport?

Yeah? Then Raising Elite Level Athletes program would be a perfect fit for you!

If your athlete has the desire to play in college or professionally, they must learn how to care for their body now!  This will ensure they stand out amongst other athletes and will have a long successful career.

If you too are in it to win it with your athlete and would like to chat about how to best support them, schedule a FREE Sports Nutrition Consultation today!