It’s only April but Teal Bunbury has already had a long year. Back in August of 2012, Bunbury tore his ACL and damaged his LCL in his left knee while assisting Sporting’s decisive goal that leveled them 1-1 with the New York Red Bulls. Since undergoing surgery to repair his knee, Bunbury has been laying low on the road to recovery. We caught up with him to see how his knee is coming along and what he’s been up to without soccer to keep him busy.
What have you been doing since you’ve been injured?
Well, a lot of my time has been spent doing rehab. My biggest thing outside of rehab is PlayStation 3. I’ve been playing a lot of Black Ops 2. I’ve also been reading a lot of the “Jack Reacher” books by Lee Child. Rehab has taken up a lot of my time.
What did you think of Jack Reacher on the big screen?
I am actually kind of disappointed that Tom Cruise plays the main character because this Jack Reacher guy is suppose to be 6’5”, 250 lbs., and just a huge guy. Tom Cruise is like 5’3” so I was kind of disappointed about that.
With major injuries like yours, there’s usually a time of self-reflection that comes along with the recovery. Has this happened for you and what have you learned about yourself from this experience?
I’ve done a lot of self-reflecting and I’ve learned a lot of things; family, teammates, myself, and most importantly my faith. I have a lot of faith in our lord, Jesus Christ, and he’s helped me through this process. He’s strengthened me and given me a better perspective on how to view trials, failures, and things like that. Also I feel I’m getting a better understanding and more passion for the game from being able to take a step back and realize how much I miss the game. It’s given me a new desire for when I come back on things I want to work on and things I want to improve. I’m really taking this time to make sure I’m healthy and I come back stronger than ever.
Do you miss being a part of the U.S. Men’s National Team during this exciting time of qualifying?
Of course I do. It’s something that’s in the back of my mind when I’m doing my rehab. Not only is Sporting KC and coming back to play for my club on my mind but hopefully also being able to do well enough that I get an opportunity to impress and play with the National Team again. That’s definitely something that’s driving me and pushing me through all this rehab, physical therapy, and training. I have good teammates around me, good doctors, therapists, and trainers so I’m really looking forward to coming back.
How have the guys have been surviving without you?
I don’t know how they have (laughs). No, I’m kidding. They’ve been doing great. They’ve been really supportive. They’re still making me feel a part of the team even though I’m not in every training session with them or traveling with them all the time. I think they’re doing great, off to a good start and getting results. We’ve got some new guys on the team and I think we’ve got that chemistry going. I’m just ready to get back and help contribute and feel 100 percent a part of the team again.
Do you think that you’ve bonded more with Jacob Peterson since you’ve both been recovering from injuries together?
We definitely have been bonding more; sharing stories and getting to know each other better. We were around each other a lot in preseason, but not so much now because he’s almost done with his rehab, but we have definitely been spending a lot of time together and learning more and more about each other.
Since you haven’t been traveling, where do you watch the road games at?
I watch the away games at home. I went to one in the Boulevard Members Club for the first game, but I just like staying at home and being able to cheer the guys on from there.
Are you tired of talking about your knee yet?
Maybe a little bit. I understand people are curious. They want to know and they care about it, which is a good feeling that people care about your well-being and how you are outside of soccer and things like that. At times it does get a little tiring because when people bring it up, something inside of me is saying, “I just want to be back so people can see me playing!”