Stories about: Dr. Benton Heyworth

When a rare injury meets steadfast determination

Chris Tilton Thriving lead image running

As just a freshman in high school, Chris was coming off an incredibly successful fall cross-country season. He had regularly placed among the top performers during races — often one of the lone freshmen amongst all upperclassmen — and had even placed first once during the season. He had his sights set on the winter track season, which came with equally high expectations.

But just two days before Christmas, while competing in the 300-meter track event at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Chris’ season was cut short. In the middle of the race, he felt his hamstring go from loose to tight very quickly, culminating in a snapping sensation and a sharp pain in his leg. He fell to the track, unable to continue the race.

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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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Victoria perseveres: Knee surgery brings new possibilities

patellar femoral dislocation“Last can be better than first.  It can be bigger than anything when getting there wasn’t supposed to happen,” says Chris Voye, a few hours after his 12-year-old daughter Victoria’s first cross-country meet.

Victoria fell in love with running six years earlier during a summer track program. She had hoped to participate the following summer, but began experiencing problems with her knees.

“It started when I was in second grade,” recalls Victoria. She’d be running or jumping, and one of her kneecaps would slide to the side. She’d stumble and fall. The condition affected both knees.

When she was 8, Victoria was diagnosed with patellar instability; her kneecaps regularly dislocated.

After three knee surgeries between the ages of 9 and 11, doctors cautioned Victoria she might never run again.

And for two years after that warning, Victoria didn’t run.

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