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April 2, 2019
Luke’s TCO Comeback Story takes us back to June 26, 2018. Most parents assume that at some point in their athlete's career, there will be minor injuries along the way. Fortunately, most parents won’t have to experience a major injury suffered by their child. Unfortunately, for our son, Luke, he did suffer a major injury. Luke tore his ACL in his left knee while playing basketball. At first, we were all hopeful that it wasn’t anything too serious, maybe just a small meniscus tear, but after a trip to TCO Urgent Care and then a follow up a week later with Dr. Thomas Conner, MD., we were unfortunately given the bad news.
We were told in our consultation with Dr. Conner that Luke would not be able to participate in any sports his junior year, he would be out of sports for 9-12 months. A tough thing to hear for a young man who had a great sophomore year of basketball – being named MVP his sophomore year and chosen as a captain for his junior year – and very excited for the upcoming season.
On July 24, 2018 (2 days before Luke’s 17th birthday) he underwent his ACL surgery. Dr. Conner and his team were amazing and we were very pleased with the surgery results and the care he received. While the first few days of post-surgery were not fun or easy for Luke, he got through those days with visits, messages and phone calls from caring family, friends, teammates and coaches.
Luke met Tyler Douglass, PT 6 days after surgery for his first physical therapy session. Immediately I could tell that Luke was very comfortable with Tyler and that they would hit it off. Tyler explained and talked to Luke in a way that worked best for a 17-year-old. Tyler was very focused on Luke, his plan for Luke, and he pushed Luke to work hard, do his best and keep going. He explained to Luke that there would be challenging and frustrating times ahead, but to push through. As Luke’s Mom, I appreciated the care and concern that Tyler gave Luke. Tyler has gone above and beyond. He has encouraged and supported Luke and we will be forever grateful for all he has done and continues to do, as Luke still checks in with Tyler periodically since he still has a few months left to go.
At Luke’s 3-month mark, he had an incredible opportunity (brought to us by Tyler) to go to the Training HAUS in Eagan to have his knee tested and see how PT was going for Luke and where his knee was at physically. We were so impressed with their wonderful staff who worked with Luke, especially Michael Kiely. Luke was put through some rigorous tests, using state of the art equipment, given so much support and some frank honesty from Michael about doing your PT, staying on track, getting stronger, holding yourself accountable and working hard. Those words that were shared with Luke have been very meaningful and motivational.
Luke continued seeing Tyler very frequently until about 4 months post op. At 4 months, we decided to sign Luke up for the STAR program, on the recommendation from Dr. Conner and Tyler. Luke worked very closely with Stephen Thorkildson during this program. What an amazing program for Luke! Luke and a few others were basically “piloting” this program. At this point, the high school basketball season had started for Luke and his teammates and it was tough on Luke. Luke would go to practices to watch and support his teammates and then have to leave early on the days he had PT and/or STAR. Luke was very dedicated on getting stronger and he had great results! Since he couldn’t be playing basketball, it was important for him to have another activity to feed a new passion. Luke had great results at his 6-month testing at the Training HAUS and everyone was thrilled to know that STAR was working for Luke and his commitment and dedication to rehab was paying off.
It was then decided that Luke was finished with STAR after reaching the goals he needed to. He then moved on to the ACE program, where he worked with Eric Seppelt and Nicole Sheehan. Luke started this program the middle of February and is enjoying being able to do more sport specific activities! As a parent, it is very reassuring to have all of these wonderful opportunities like the STAR and ACE programs and we would highly recommend them.
Luke has remained very determined through this whole process, which is not always easy for a 17-year-old. He knows how important his PT and rehab is and that it is all crucial to being able to return back to sport. We are hopeful and optimistic that this summer he will be back on the basketball court, ready to go. As parents, it may be a bit nerve wracking at first to watch him, but we will know that physically, Luke’s knee will be ready. And for that, we thank every single TCO employee who has pushed and supported Luke. He still has a few months to go, his Comeback Story isn’t quite over, but it has been an inspiring one so far! A quote I have leaned on over these past months “Every setback is a setup for a comeback. God wants to bring you out better than you were before.” We are so proud of our son Luke, and so thankful to TCO!