Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Q&A: Tori Dixon’s Inspiring Journey to Recovery from ACL Tear

Tori Dixon

Just over a year ago, Tori Dixon, a talented athlete from Burnsville, Minnesota, was on track to be one of the players chosen for the U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team. However, a devastating ACL tear during a match in the Japan V-League put her dreams in jeopardy. Despite the setback, Tori remained resilient and focused on her recovery journey. In this Q&A, Tori shares her experiences and insights into her path to recovery.

Road to Recovery: Tori Dixon’s Story

Playing for the Toray Arrows in the Japan V-League, Tori went up for a powerful kill and landed awkwardly on her left leg, resulting in an immediate injury. Despite her disappointment, Tori quickly shifted her mindset towards her next steps, focusing on how to return to the U.S. for surgery and planning her recovery process.

At the time of her injury, Tori had already made significant contributions to both her professional team and the U.S. Women’s National Team. She had been named Best Spiker in the V-League playoffs and Best Blocker in international tournaments. Her potential as a rising star in the volleyball world was undeniable.

Now, after 12 months of rehabilitation, Tori shares her progress and her determination to return to the court. Let’s delve into her inspiring journey.

Q&A with Tori Dixon

USA Volleyball: You pushed yourself to make a comeback in time for the Olympics. Looking back, would you have approached your recovery differently knowing the challenges of an ACL injury?

Tori Dixon: Yes, I knew it would be a difficult recovery, but I made decisions based on both short-term and long-term goals. While I wanted to return before the Olympics, I wasn’t willing to jeopardize my future. I pushed myself within reason, focusing on not just the timeline but also improving my form and technique. If I had to do it over, I would approach it the same way.

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USA Volleyball: How would you rate your progress so far? Is your knee back to 100 percent?

Tori Dixon: In terms of strength and stability, my knee is close to 100 percent. However, as a volleyball player, I still have some progress to make. I began hitting and blocking in September, but I’ve only recently started doing slides, which involve jumping off my previously injured knee.

USA Volleyball: What have been the most challenging aspects of your recovery?

Tori Dixon: Developing good technique has been a challenge. While I’ve always been strong and physical, my form needed improvement. Changing old habits and landing properly on one leg has been mentally demanding.

USA Volleyball: How did you feel during the Olympics, knowing how close you were to securing a spot on the roster before your injury?

Tori Dixon: Of course, I was disappointed that I couldn’t be there. However, I’m also realistic, and I knew I wasn’t ready to compete at that level. I genuinely celebrated the achievements of my teammates and supported them throughout the games.

USA Volleyball: Did you watch the Olympics and stay in touch with your teammates?

Tori Dixon: Yes, I watched and kept in touch with the girls. We didn’t just talk about volleyball; we shared personal experiences and exciting moments. I wanted to be there for them during this incredible time in their lives.

USA Volleyball: What is your typical training day like, considering you’re not playing professionally this season?

Tori Dixon: I lift four days a week and play volleyball three times a week. We have a small group of players training at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, including coaches who help set for me. Overall, it has been great to have a supportive environment and people to train with.

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USA Volleyball: Are you ready to play for a professional club team if the opportunity arises?

Tori Dixon: I believe I’m ready. I’ve explored potential contracts, but I’m genuinely happy with my progress in Anaheim. This dedicated time has allowed me to focus on improving myself and my technical skills. While I might consider playing overseas, I’m taking advantage of the resources and expertise available to me here.

USA Volleyball: Do you think it’s necessary to play in a team environment before rejoining the National Team?

Tori Dixon: Gradually reintegrating into a team environment is important, especially for 6-on-6 volleyball. However, the resources and support I have in Anaheim far surpass what I would find overseas. I’m gaining more than I’m losing by training here. Additionally, as other players finish their seasons, more teammates will join the training sessions.

USA Volleyball: Besides training, how have you been keeping yourself busy?

Tori Dixon: I’ve been enjoying life outside of the gym. I travel to Minnesota frequently, spend time with friends and teammates in Southern California, go to the beach, shop, and simply live a normal life. I also have a dog named Finn, who keeps me occupied. It’s a nice change to be in America for an extended period after college.

USA Volleyball: What lessons have you learned from this injury setback?

Tori Dixon: I’ve learned the importance of good technique and being patient throughout the recovery process.

USA Volleyball: Any advice for athletes facing a season-ending injury?

Tori Dixon: Trust the process, maintain an optimistic mindset, and listen to your body. Some days will be great, while others might bring setbacks. Stay committed to the work and trust that your efforts will pay off in due time.

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USA Volleyball: What are your goals for 2017?

Tori Dixon: I aim to regain the level of play I achieved in 2015 while supporting and guiding the new players in our team.


Q1: How did Tori Dixon tear her ACL?

A1: Tori Dixon sustained an ACL tear while playing for the Toray Arrows in the Japan V-League.

Q2: Did Tori Dixon fully recover from her ACL tear?

A2: Tori Dixon’s recovery has been progressing well, and her knee is close to 100 percent in terms of strength and stability. However, she is still working on regaining her full form as a volleyball player.

Q3: Did Tori Dixon watch the Olympics and support her teammates?

A3: Yes, Tori Dixon watched the Olympics and maintained communication with her teammates throughout the games, providing support and sharing their experiences.

Q4: Is Tori Dixon ready to play for a professional club team?

A4: Tori Dixon believes she is ready to play for a professional club team and has explored potential contracts.

Q5: Is it necessary for Tori Dixon to play in a team environment before rejoining the National Team?

A5: Tori Dixon believes that gradually reintegrating into a team environment is important. However, she emphasizes the benefits of training in Anaheim, where she has access to excellent resources and support.


Tori Dixon’s journey to recovery from an ACL tear has been inspiring. Despite the disappointment of missing the Olympics, Tori remained focused on her rehabilitation. Her determination to regain her form and technique is evident in her progress. Tori’s positive mindset and dedication to improving herself make her an inspiration to athletes facing similar setbacks. As Tori continues her recovery, she aims to return to the level of play she achieved in 2015 while supporting her teammates.