Mia Wynn, of Bear, Del., played competitive basketball for Hodgson High School and local travel teams. During a game, an opposing player fell on the outside of her right knee. Hoping that it was no different from the many other bumps and bruises she’d sustained during other games, the 17-year-old continued to play through the pain. Unfortunately, a month later, her knee buckled underneath her while landing after a layup. She knew then that this injury was different. Mia had torn her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
A Common Injury
Mia’s story is not unique. More than 80,000 ACL tears occur every year, with an estimated 80 percent of ACL tears occurring during either pivoting maneuvers with sudden stops or improper landings from a jump. Female athletes are approximately 8 to 10 times more likely to injure their ACL than their male counterparts competing in the same sports.
Getting Back to the Court — Safely
Mia met with Alfred Atanda, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware’s Center for Sports Medicine. Dr. Atanda performed an ACL repair surgery using tendon taken from her hamstring. This helped to restore the stability of the joint, but her work was really just beginning.
For the next eight months of recovery, Mia pushed herself harder and harder as she progressed from physical therapy to the Center for Sports Medicine’s “Next Step” program. While in Next Step, under the supervision of a physical therapist or certified athletic trainer, she continued to develop strength and agility that prepared her for a return to the court.
Throughout the recovery process, Mia learned techniques to help her land safely by evenly distributing her weight on both legs. These injury prevention methods not only reduced her chances of another injury to her ACL, but also made her stronger on the court.
A year later, Dr. Atanda gave her the news that she had been waiting for — she was cleared to return to the game she loves.