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news News Wednesday, November 27, 2019 Wednesday, November 27, 2019 8:51 AM - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 8:51 AM

From injury to MVP

From injury to MVP

Derick is a young and talented multi-sport athlete who suffered a season ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in September 2018. He was evaluated at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie shortly after his injury. After testing and evaluation, it was determined that a surgical procedure was needed. Michael P. McClincy, M.D., performed an ACL reconstruction in November 2018.

Two weeks after his surgery, Derick began his physical therapy journey where he participated in a variety of activities twice weekly. Derick’s ultimate goal for participating in physical therapy was to return to playing sports at his prior level.

Despite the length of Derick’s rehabilitation, extent of his injury and operative procedure, his level of motivation never waivered. In an 11-year-old’s world, one year of rehabilitation can feel like a lifetime! Nonetheless, Derick spent countless hours performing exercise both in therapy and at home, as well as experiencing and working through the myriad of emotions associated with missing two sports seasons.

Derick’s first objective test of functional ability was measured in the motion analysis center using the Biodex machine to assess his leg strength. This initial test was performed six months after his surgical procedure. The results were reviewed with Dr. McClincy, who cleared Derick for his first major victory of his journey: return to running. This would challenge Derick in a new way, through straight plane running and cardiovascular endurance. Derick was also issued a sports brace to wear for all athletic activity.

In the following months, Derick’s rehabilitation grew more intense. Jumping, plyometrics and higher impact activities were initiated. Activities involving two feet became one-footed. He also participated in additional testing in the motion analysis center. The results of these assessments combined with his strength testing would ultimately allow Derick to return to sports.

Derick’s next major victory came at his nine-month postoperative follow-up with the surgeon. Dr. McClincy reviewed Derick’s testing results, and although not perfect, Derick was released to return to playing baseball, a sport with minimal contact and less pivoting motion, which is a common cause of re-injury.

This victory came just in time, because Derick had plans to participate in an all-star baseball tournament that week. Derick’s return to baseball was very successful. He was named the Baseball Youth Team MVP and overall tournament MVP for his age group! What an amazing honor for a young man who had not played baseball in nine months! Hard work certainly does pay off.

In collaboration with Derick’s physical therapists, Dr. McClincy requested Derick continue with PT for four more weeks to address some residual muscle weakness, decreased endurance and to improve his landing mechanics. Derick continued to work hard in therapy and at home with a specific program.

Less than one year after surgery, Derick was cleared to playing sports again. This outcome was the result of a young man’s hard work and determination combined with a skillful surgeon and therapy team who focused on Derick as an individual and athlete. The road through rehabilitation was not always smooth; however, Derick’s mother phrased it best, “You have helped transform what was a devastating experience into a constructive, growing experience. You pushed Derick beyond his limits and taught him how to physically and mentally overcome challenges. Because of your compassion and gentle approach, Derick does not fear returning to sports. In my book, that is priceless.”