Stories about: ACL

A Valentine’s Day wish to my daughter

Eesha, who had BEAR surgery for an ACL tear, on the street

Eesha Bhagwat is a 16-year-old high school junior who had a bridge-enhanced ACL repair (BEAR) last summer at Boston Children’s.

Dear Eesha,

Valentine’s Day is just a reminder that I love you to the moon and back. I want to let you know how much I adore you and admire your resilience in the face of difficult times. I know this past year has been very hard on you, with your ACL surgery. Although you had to sit out of all your favorite activities, including cheerleading, rugby and dance, you were still very upbeat and brave and remained a trouper throughout your recovery journey.

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Reducing knee injury risk in young athletes

soccer acl injury

Young athletes benefit from playing sports in a variety of ways — from better fitness and overall health to higher self-esteem and improved academic achievement. But with this participation comes the risk of injury.

While some injuries build up over time and cause pain that is often ignored, others may be random and unexpected. Dr. Dennis Kramer, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, explains what may put an athlete at risk for an overuse injury and how to minimize the risk of traumatic injuries, such as an ACL tear.

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After ACL tear and visit from Tom Brady, Caleb offers ACL injury prevention advice


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Aspiring football player Caleb Seymour dreams about playing for the New England Patriots. He idolizes Tom Brady and will be wearing his #12 jersey on Super Bowl Sunday. Three years ago, when Caleb was 8-years old, he forged a different bond with his hero. Caleb, like Brady, tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) playing football.

Caleb’s parents, Lisa and Michael Seymour of Holden, Maine, brought their son to Boston Children’s Hospital, where Mininder Kocher, MD, MPH, associate director of the sports medicine division, reconstructed Caleb’s torn ligament in November 2011.

But Caleb faced a long road—recovering from an ACL injury is a six-to-nine month process. It meant no football. It was tough to sit on the sidelines, says Caleb.

But Caleb got some special advice about rehabilitating his knee and preventing future ACL tears during a surprise visit from Tom Brady himself.

“He was so nice to me and motivated me to keep working hard on my knee and keep playing football,” says Caleb. “I know he will motivate his team to do good and WIN!!!”

Now, Caleb hopes to return the favor with some advice for other young athletes.

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From basketball to tennis: ACL tear can’t keep teen athlete off the court

McCartyWill_PostACLsurgeryAt 12 years old, Will McCarty loved basketball. His summer was planned out—basketball camp and tournament play would prep him for his seventh grade basketball team. Everything was going according to plan—until he stepped on a ball while making a layup.

“We thought it was a simple injury,” says his father Bill. A few days after the injury, he seemed fine. When he tried to run, though, his knee buckled. His parents took Will to his doctor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Manchester, N.H.

A few days later, after the swelling around Will’s knee went down, an MRI revealed a torn ACL. “It felt like a stunning diagnosis,” says Bill. An ACL tear is problematic in growing kids. That’s because ACL reconstruction requires surgeons to drill into the growth plate (the area at the end of the bone that produces new bone tissue and is responsible for bone growth). The surgery could interfere with future growth. Many surgeons recommend waiting until after puberty to perform the surgery.

“This isn’t a great alternative for growing kids,” says Mininder Kocher MD, MPH, associate director, Sports Medicine Division at Boston Children’s Hospital. “They remain at risk for injury with everyday activities, and with a torn ACL, they can’t play sports, which can negatively impact their emotional health.”

“Our doctor told us, ‘There’s a guy in Boston who’s the kingpin of ACL surgery for growing kids,’”recalls Bill. With that endorsement, the family made an appointment with Kocher.

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