Romulo Barral begins recuperating the same day as his surgery. Image courtesy Romulo.
Among all the amazing action at the 2010 BJJ World Championship finals, Gracie Barra’s Romulo Barral had his trajectory cut short. In a contest against Alliance’s Tarsis Humphreys in the middle heavyweight finals, Barral’s knee was badly injured and he could not continue. Humphreys went on to claim the gold medal, and Barral was also forced to cede the gold to Roger Gracie in the black belt absolute finals.
We caught up with Romulo this afternoon on the phone to learn how his recovery was going. He had his surgery yesterday morning and received a cadaver ligament to replace a severed ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
Romulo has began to recuperate from the surgery already. “Yesterday I did 30 minutes pedaling very light, you know, just to keep the leg moving and to keep the swelling down. The doctor told me I was cleared to do that.” And today he had done another 20 minutes of pedaling!
As someone who has had their own battle with knee surgery, I asked him to repeat what I thought he said. When he repeated the same story I could not resist saying, “Romulo, you know that sounds crazy right?” I know I was so looped out on painkillers I didn’t know what planet I was on for several days.
“Yes,” he laughed. “I know it does.”
While his MCL (medial collateral ligament) was also injured in the finals against Tarsis, it turns out the ACL damage was already present prior to the BJJ World Championship. The ACL then was the doctor’s priority. “I was training and it was giving me a lot of problems. It was popping out a lot. Every week I had a problem with my knee before the Worlds. So I guess there was a tear before,” Romulo explained. “My MCL has already healed up [from the damage sustained in the finals].”
“I’m always very confident in every thing I do. I’m not going to try to rush things and try to step on the mat. I’m going to wait until I’m 100% because I don’t want to have a problem again after two or three months. My jiu-jitsu’s on my mind you know; I’m not going to forget anything! I’m eating healthy and will hit the gym in a few days to lift weights and try to do the bicycle to keep in shape as much as possible. I hope by the end of the year I can train again… By April I hope to go to the World Cup Pro and do my best there.”