New perspective

Sophomore Bridget Tobias was just finishing up her basketball tournament in May. During game play, she planted her foot and twisted her knee. Her knee turned sideways and she watched as it popped in and out of its socket. At first, she couldn’t feel the pain. She just worried about the injury. She didn’t know how serious it would be. As she tried to get up, she could barely walk and couldn’t run.

“We didn’t think my ACL was torn because normally it swells a lot, and I didn’t experience much swelling,” Tobias said.

Tobias had an MRI done the day after the tournament, and the results showed that she tore her ACL. She said she was upset because she had just been improving her athletic abilities. She ranked first in the state in 300 meter hurdles and second in the state in 100 meter hurdles, the summer before she got into high school, and tearing her ACL set her back.

“It was a lot of hard work to earn that,” Tobias said. “I was devastated.”

Tobias has been playing sports since she was young. Tobias said that sports took up most of her time, and she was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to play sports again. She was upset because she missed her summer track season as well, which is her favorite sport.

“This has showed me to value playing,” Tobias said. “I have taken it for granted.”

Tobias then had a patellar tendon graft done on her knee. The patellar tendon lies right below the kneecap. In this surgery, the surgeon removes the middle section of the patellar tendon, removes the torn ACL and puts the tendon into the knee where the ACL was formally. Due to this surgery, Tobias will recover from her ACL injury and be able to play in basketball and track within the year.

“Reconstructive surgery is relatively new and it’s gotten better and better,” Track Coach Steve Telaneus said. “I had reconstructive surgery done on my ACL. I tore it playing football in college.”

Telaneus said it is very common for athletes to tear their ACL nowadays, that it is probably the most common injury that happens when students play sports. He said that one reason why this could be is because it is easier to diagnose a torn ACL than years ago. He also said that another reason could be a combination of things such as stronger athletes or the field surfaces used during games.

Tearing of the ACL can be caused by any over excessive activity on the knee. Even walking can be a culprit in certain circumstances. Reconstructive surgery can only do so much. Marcus has had two quarterbacks who cannot play due to a torn ACL. Junior Cole Erwin and his younger brother Sophomore Cade Erwin both had torn their ACL during football games during the fall and were out for the rest of the season. However, Telaneus says that more athletes are getting back in the game.

“These days, athletes come back in quite a bit,” Telaneus said. “It’s better now than when I was young.”

However, Tobias said even with the surgery, she will have to face many challenges when she gets back into basketball and track. She feels like she will be more timid when she plays because she will be protecting her knee.

“I won’t be as confident in my abilities because I will always be worried about it.” Tobias said.

Over the summer, Tobias went through different types of physical therapy. She said that most of therapy was to get her mobility back. After the surgery, she couldn’t do simple things like bending and straightening her leg. She couldn’t even walk the first week.

Tobias then had to do more physical therapy that would build back the lost muscle in her leg. Through physical therapy, she has to build back 80 percent of the muscle she had before in her leg to be able to do athletics. Tobias said she is starting a new type of therapy to get her back where she was and make her stronger.

“She’s coming back pretty quickly,” Telaneus said. “Sometimes it takes up to a year or more to recover. She is doing really well.”

Tobias travels with the girls’ basketball team whenever they have games, and once she recovers, she will be able to participate in the track season. She said that she has learned how much she appreciates sports. Telaneus said that Tobias will have to continue rehab even after her release, along with her workouts, but that she will be able to get back to where she used to be.

“The main thing we’ll be concerned about is getting her overall physical fitness back once she can perform all the way because of her knee,” Telaneus said.