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April 29, 2019
This journey began in fifth grade when I dislocated my left knee during a basketball game. It started with just one dislocation and a little bit of pain. I thought it would eventually go away, but by the end of the sixth grade basketball season the pain and multiple dislocations became the norm for me. In the fall, my knee became extremely swollen and painful, to the point it affected my ability to play both volleyball and basketball. So, we decided to see Dr. Jeff Mair at Twin Cities Orthopedics. Dr. Mair ordered an MRI due to the swelling and mandatory time off from sports. The results came back that I had a crack on the back of my patella and the cartilage on the back of my knee cap was coming off because of all the dislocations. At this point, I was not ready to quit playing sports, so we agreed to try a patella stabilizing brace along with lots of icing and pain relievers. By December, the pain and swelling had gotten so bad that it was affecting my everyday life, along with my ability to excel at sports. Upon our next visit with Dr. Mair, he delivered the news that I was going to need surgery and unable to play basketball for a minimum of 12 weeks and will have to miss the softball season.
On January 31st, 2019, I underwent a left knee arthroscopy, chondroplasty of the lateral femoral trochlea, removal of multiple cartilaginous loose joint bodies, lateral retinacular release, excision lateral patellar bony ossicle, open medial patellar-femoral ligament repair, and patellar and lateral femoral trochlear antegrade drilling/microfracture/marrow stimulation. Following the surgery, I was put in a straight leg immobilizer for six weeks with no bending at all. Surgery went very well, before we knew it I was up walking and shooting hoops.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE my surgery I had participated in a Knight of Columbus Minnesota Council free throw contest. I won the event, which then allowed the winners to move on to the District competition. The District competition was TWO WEEKS AFTER my surgery. I did not want to participate because I didn’t know how to shoot without bending my leg and I was embarrassed on how it looked when I shot. My mom convinced me to go, and I ended up winning the event that would then send me to the regional competition. The regional competition was FOUR WEEKS AFTER my surgery, as it drew near I was feeling less and less confident because I knew my competition there was going to be the hardest yet. I shot and made 21 out of 25 free throws! That put me in first place, I won the regions and I was on my way to state. I shot the last two competitions with a straight leg immobilizer on. The state competition was held 8 WEEKS AFTER my initial surgery. By the time the State competition came I was walking again in a patella stabilizing brace and started therapy three times a week. I had two weeks of therapy in before the State competition arrived. Everyone believed in me and had no doubts that I could pull off the win. I had many doubts in myself because it had been so long since I had shot normally with just my patella stabilizing brace on. I got in the gym the morning of the competition as soon as I started shooting I could feel the excitement and the nerves of everyone around me. While we were warming up my nerves and doubts disappeared I knew that I could do anything because I had been working so hard to get to where I was at. I was the eleventh shooter out of twelve. The top girl so far had made 19 out of 25 which I knew I could beat, I got up to the line and BOOM! I was on fire I missed one here and there but I was counting in my head and I knew I had made eighteen but that's when I lost track of how many I had shot. I shot another one to put me at nineteen the tying score of the girl before. It was my last shot, we tied. That meant we had to go to a tiebreaker out of five. She made 1 out of 5. I made 4 out of 5. I was the MINNESOTA STATE CHAMPION!
When I got back to therapy the next day we kept pushing to get my leg better. We did forty five minutes of work at therapy and then I went home and did more. The progress was going extremely fast and before we knew it, I was doing leg press, biking, and squats. With two more weeks of hard work, I started jumping and running. I am at the point now where I can practice and hopefully start playing the first weekend of May. I am almost 12 weeks out now and I can’t wait to get back on the court. I have had the greatest care team ever. This would not all of been possible without Dr. Mair and especially my physical therapist, Cathy Carrabre. Cathy pushed me every session to work hard, believe in myself, and be confident that I will be a better person and athlete at the end of this journey.