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June 21, 2016
My daughter, Alison, tore her ACL 13 months ago in an AAU basketball game. It was a violent collision that left Alison wondering if she would ever play basketball again. This was very traumatic for her because she was a highly rated player with a number of potential scholarship opportunities. Her initial diagnosis was incorrect and, with the urging of college coaches that were recruiting her for basketball, we decided to get a second opinion and MRI which revealed a complete ACL tear, bone bruising, sprained MCL, and some cartilage damage (did not know the extent at the time.) The first surgeon said she had two choices: no surgery and attempt to play her senior season and not play in college, or have the surgery and miss most, if not all of the season, but be ready for college. On top of that it would be almost a month before he could operate.
This was heart breaking news and left Alison in very poor spirits. Her White Bear Lake High School team was returning most of the players from the previous year and was the favorite to return to the state tournament the following spring. She was determined to have the surgery and still play her senior year. We decided to look at other options and fellow athletes recommended Dr. Saterbak.
We met with Dr. Saterbak on a Friday and she had surgery the following Wednesday! Alison smiled for the first time in weeks after that meeting. Dr. Saterbak could see no reason she couldn’t return to play that season and would do everything she could to help her. We targeted January as a return date. The surgical care at High Pointe was top notch and the surgery was successful with no further cartilage damage found. Alison then started the long road to recovery. The summer was tough as she followed her AAU basketball team around including going to Cincinnati over the July 4th. Her quad still was not firing so she still struggled getting around, however, in Cincinnati it finally fired and Alison was now able to walk and begin the next step of rehab. At this time January seemed a long way off. With that in mind, Dr. Saterbak and her physical therapists still thought that was an attainable target. With their help, Alison dove head first into her recovery and began making extreme strides. Amazingly, she passed all her physical tests in October and set her sights on returning for the very first game in late November! After consulting with her doctors, she was cleared to start practicing in early November and did start the first game of the season. She made the all-tournament team. Alison’s minutes were managed by her coach during the regular season to save her for the end. While she had some pain in the knee, it never really swelled and was very stable. Late in the season she was undercut and landed directly on the repaired knee, causing her to miss some games at the end of the season. We met with Dr. Saterbak and it was determined that the ACL knee was tighter and stronger than the good knee and we were hopefully she could play in the playoffs.
Alison returned to help her team to the State Tournament where they beat the number two ranked team in the state and finished fourth! She topped it off by making the All-Tournament team and was selected to play in the State All-Star Game. She also accepted a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Minnesota – Duluth.
We have no doubt that none of this would have been possible without the care and direction of Dr. Saterbak. Her willingness to help Alison recover this season played a huge role in her return.
We are now a year out since the initial surgery. Alison is pain free and no longer wears a knee brace and has complete confidence in her knee and the work of Dr. Saterbak.