Stories about: ACL tear

A dream deferred but not denied by ACL tear

Emily plays soccer before her ACL tear.

The dream of playing college soccer was within reach. Emily had been working on her game since she was four years old, and at 16 was now co-captain of both her high school and club teams. Colleges were taking note.

Just three games into club season, Emily was on the field in North Carolina, running back to her net when she tore her left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). She heard her knee pop, and knew immediately what had happened. “I’ve always had a high tolerance for pain, but that definitely raised the bar,” she says. Her mother Lauri can still hear her daughter’s screams from that day as she watched the event unfold from the sidelines.

Six months later, Emily is tackling recovery the same way she tackles life. “Emily is a go-getter,” says Lauri. “In school and in soccer, she works and works and works — she just never stops.”

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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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Olympian D’Agostino shares 3 lessons after ACL injury

ACL injury“The crux of Olympic competition is to do everything you can to be the first one to cross the finish line,” says Abbey D’Agostino. But that’s not what Abbey did during the 5,000-meter qualifying heats in the 2016 summer games.

Abbey had trained for her Olympic moment for years, adhering to the rigid 24/7 lifestyle of an elite athlete since graduating from Dartmouth College and signing to run professionally with New Balance.

Abbey’s Olympic moment came unexpectedly when she and New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin collided and tumbled to the ground.

What happened at the Olympics is an example we should be talking about in youth sports. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about sportsmanship.

Abbey ignored her training, her coach’s advice, her dreams.

She stopped and extended her hand to Nikki, and the pair hobbled through the final mile of the event side by side.

“What happened at the Olympics is an example we should be talking about in youth sports. It’s not just about achievement. It’s about sportsmanship,” says Dr. Mininder Kocher, associate director of Boston Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine.

There were a few things Abbey didn’t know during that fateful mile. She would be diagnosed with a devastating injury: a complete tear of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a meniscus tear and a strained medial collateral ligament. She and Nikki would be awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for Olympic spirit. And her team would expand.

Physical therapist Carl Gustafson would join Team Abbey, along with her coach Mark Coogan and Kocher, a world-renowned knee surgeon.

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Intense sports season? 5 tips for recovery

sports-recoveryTaylor is an ambitious, three-sport, high-school senior, who plays on Wayland High School’s soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams. In addition to mastering shooting the ball, defending the hoop and cradling the lacrosse stick, Taylor is learning about the science of injury prevention.

Taylor tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the fall of 2013. Six months after surgery to repair her torn ACL, Taylor came to The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention. Her evaluation showed she hadn’t built enough strength to return to play. But Taylor was eager to get back on the field and pushed herself to return to play.

It wasn’t long before she suffered a partial ACL tear in the same knee, and then, one year after her first ACL injury, she completely tore the same ACL.

Since then, Taylor has embraced injury prevention.

See how she fits these five sports recovery tips into her daily training.

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