Stories about: ACL reconstruction

Julia Marino’s Olympic story: Achieving after injury

Julia Marino lead image Thriving

Julia Marino is always thinking about her story, and it would be hard not too, given how much of an adventure her life has been so far. “Being adopted out of Paraguay to have a normal life in America would’ve been enough of a story itself,” she says. “But I’ve had the chance to live a life beyond what anybody could even dream of.”

As an Olympic skier, Julia has been competing at the top of her sport for almost a decade. In 2014, she reached the pinnacle of snow sports at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. But how she got there – and where she plans on going now – was heavily influenced by a devastating knee injury just a few years before the Olympics.

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Year in review: Our most popular Thriving stories

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As the year comes to a close, we look back on some of the most popular stories — from basic tips to second chances to ground-breaking surgeries. Thank you to the many families and patients who kindly contributed to the success of Thriving in 2016. As always, you inspire us. Happy New Year!

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ACL repair: What it’s like to be first to have a new surgery

Dr. Martha Murray explains bridge-enhanced ACL repair
Dr. Martha Murray explains bridge-enhanced ACL repair

At the beginning of the historically snowy Boston 2015 winter, I took a ski trip to the Green Mountains with some friends. On the morning of our first day, I lost control and, while tumbling to a halt, I heard two pops: One was my right ski-binding opening and the other was my left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupturing.

As a doctoral student at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, I found myself exploring treatment options, even before I got the MRI scan to confirm the ACL tear.

I was particularly troubled to hear about the high risk of early-onset osteoarthritis in the injured knee with the current standard surgery.

After following the research, I was encouraged to learn Dr. Martha Murray and her team at Boston Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine had just started recruiting for a first-in-humans safety trial testing a promising new ACL-repair method.

I called Dr. Murray’s research coordinator and sent my MRI results to find out if I was eligible to participate in the trial. Within a few hours, they returned my call. I was eager to learn more.

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Health headlines: Focusing on hospital safety, using zebrafish to understand cancer and fixing ACL tears with a sponge

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Boston Children’s Hospital’s doctors and researchers are constantly working to uncover and understand health and medical questions. Health Headlines is a twice-monthly summary of some of the most important research findings and news.

Top news this week includes how hospitals are changing to become safer, how zebrafish are helping cancer researchers make strides and how sponges are being used to repair torn ACLs.

How hospitals are changing to become safer

The New York Times “Opinionator” blog reports patient safety experts say that medical errors are more a function of faulty systems than faulty people. In recent years, with leadership from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine, federal programs like the Partnership for Patients and numerous hospitals have made focused efforts to reduce harm.

Scientists watch as healthy cells turn into melanoma

Medscape reports on new research from Boston Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Leonard Zon, that finds zebrafish can be used to visually track melanoma as it begins. Researchers believe this work could have significant implications for cancer therapeutics, in that it provides clues for stopping cancer before it even begins.

Can a sponge fix athletes’ knees?

The Wall Street Journal features research from Boston Children’s Dr. Martha Murray, that is currently in the first safety trials in humans. Dr. Murray and Boston Children’s Dr. Lyle Micheli are inserting a sponge roughly the size of a thumb to serve as a bridge between the torn strands of the ACL and flushing it with the patient’s blood. That serves as a stimulus to make a bridge grow essentially encouraging the ACL to repair itself.

Learn more about Boston Children’s ACL Program.

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