Stories about: ACL reconstruction

Eliza’s story: Refocusing her athletic identity after multiple ACL tears

Eliza Hampsch Thriving lead image field hockey ACL sports psychology
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ELIZA HAMPSCH

When a high school athlete has designed their identity around a sport and the potential of a future in collegiate athletics, suffering an ACL tear can feel like the body’s ultimate betrayal. An ACL tear is a traumatic and painful injury that can leave an athlete on the sidelines for up to a year, seriously delaying any progress they might have been making in their sport. But multiple ACL tears, one right after the other, can be devastating for a promising high school athlete not only physically, but emotionally as well.

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Nate’s All-Star recovery from an ACL tear

Nate, who had ACL reconstruction physeal sparing surgery, bats during a game

Just a few decades ago, a child tearing their ACL would lead to years of reduced activity and inability to participate in sports. Surgical reconstruction was not an option, given that the procedure required drilling through the growth plate, and would disrupt future growth in the child’s affected leg.

But in 1976, Lyle Micheli, MD, director of the Sports Medicine Division at Boston Children’s Hospital, pioneered a new growth plate-sparing ACL reconstruction procedure for growing children. Known as physeal-sparing ACL reconstruction, the procedure has been used to reconstruct ACLs in prepubescent kids at Boston Children’s ever since.

This is the procedure that Nate — a 12-year-old star baseball player at the time — underwent in 2013, after tearing his ACL playing football. Rather than rush into an ACL reconstruction surgery in their home state of Maine, Nate’s family researched the best ACL surgeons, and were ultimately referred to Mininder Kocher, MD, MPH, associate director of the Sports Medicine Division at Boston Children’s.

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How to prevent ACL injuries in female athletes

ACL injury prevention female athletes

An ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear is a devastating injury that can end an athlete’s season and sometimes take up to a year to fully recover. Along with the pain and long rehab process, it also carries the consequences of a high rate of re-tear and increased risk for osteoarthritis. But what if you could decrease your risk of getting this injury, just by doing certain exercises for 20 minutes two times per week?

Dr. Dai Sugimoto, director of clinical research at The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention at Boston Children’s Hospital, has focused his research on training regimens that help prevent ACL injuries. Through extensive study, Sugimoto has found specific exercises that have been shown to decrease the rate of ACL injuries for female athletes.

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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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