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April 20, 2019
I went into my junior year of basketball unprepared, anxious, and quite honestly, a mess. However, I feel as though I have come so far and as many issues as my knee has caused, I wouldn't take it back as it has made me the person I am today. During a fall league game of basketball, I was tripped and landed directly on my knee and when I tried to get up and run again I felt pops and like my lower leg was loose from my thigh. I went to the doctor that weekend and was told I had a bone bruise and a sprained hamstring. About two weeks later, I returned to basketball tryouts and was very cautious the first days and still felt unstable. I decided to put a brace on and if I didn't feel better after practice the next day I would return to the doctor. I made it through the first half of practice, however, when we began to work on defensive drills, I shifted my weight onto my right leg and collapsed. I went to a TCO clinic and got an MRI shortly after. I was told I tore my PCL, had no idea what that was. But it wasn't season ending so I was happy. I did some therapy and once I was able to return to basketball decided I wanted to make a major comeback for my senior year, so after practice every day I went to the gym and did cardio and was able to lose 50 pounds by the time the next season began. I went to every summer camp and event I was able to and began my senior season as a captain with many new skills, and I was actually able to run as required. Practice felt amazing and I was so ready to begin the season. We traveled to Chisago Lakes for our first game of the season, and seven minutes in I was guarding a girl on the three-point line, she drove on me slamming into my right thigh, forcing me to plant my foot sideways, then she wrapped her leg around me to continue moving forward which pulled my leg the opposite way. I felt the pop. I knew it was bad, but I got up and tried to run again to be sure and when I did it gave. My amazing teammates helped me to the locker room and I remember feeling my leg give out with every step. It hit me pretty hard over the weekend, and I got into a TCO as soon as I could and was told I likely dislocated my kneecap and it popped back in and that I possibly tore my MCL, then I got an MRI a few days later.
I came home from watching practice and my parents were sitting on the couch waiting for me. They just looked at me and said it's bad. I thought they were joking with me but my dad said that along with the dislocation, I had torn my ACL, PCL and meniscus and would need surgery. I was devastated. But what killed me more was not being able to be there on the court for my team. Telling them I was done was horrible. One of my teammates broke down crying and it just destroyed me. I told them I loved them and that I was still a captain and would be there to support them no matter what. I was injured November 24th and had surgery December 5th, which I though was very fast. I had to stay home for a week because I did not react well with the drugs, but was able to leave the house to make it to our game that Saturday (my surgery was that Wednesday, three days earlier) which everyone told me was a stupid idea but I needed to see my team. They beat a team we have never been able to and it really picked me up. I worked hard at therapy with my amazing physical therapists Emily and Lee, and they helped me get ahead of schedule. I now wake up at 4:30 every morning before school to go to the gym to get back in shape and work my leg a few days a week. I am now five months out and feel great. I'm still cautious as I'm still in that vulnerable stage, but will be participating in the ACE rehabilitation program this June to get be back to full athletic ability. I'm doing everything I can to get to where I need to be physically, as I will be going to University of North Dakota this fall to pursue a degree in nursing and will be joining the Air Force ROTC program so I am able to use my skills as a nurse to serve others. Of course I wish I was able to play basketball and be in track and field this year, but I have grown so much closer to my teammates and have been able to overcome so many issues other than my knee. I had dealt with pretty extreme anxiety most of my life and was able to get that under control with the help of my doctors and my teammates. I was also able to get in the best shape of my life as my leg pushed me to be better, and although I lost some of my progress after surgery, I am working even harder to get to where I was and to exceed it. I am grateful for all of my experiences even though they were not what I had originally planned, as they have shaped who I am today and helped me strengthen many of my friendships and my own mindset which has made me a completely different person and will help me greatly in the future.