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Jordan Kyle: An Excellent Patient

Jordan Kyle, at 16, was a soccer standout at Carroll High School. During a game, she was illegally tripped from behind and tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee. ACL tears are a common soccer injury. According to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Welker, ACL tears are an epidemic affecting one in four female collegiate soccer players. At Jordan's school, nine other women had experienced ACL tears the same year. This ligament is key to the stability of the knee. If not tended to, the student can no longer play in soccer and risks further knee problems in the future, even without participating in athletics. Surgery to repair these injuries usually sidelines players for the current season and affects play for part of the next school year. This was devastating to Jordan's spirit. 

Jordan and her parents, Andy and Lori, were told by Dr. Welker that ACL reconstructive surgery was needed to repair the knee. Also, a second surgery would be needed to repair her meniscus cartilage that tore in two places. This cartilage absorbs much of the shock the knee receives in sports that involve running. Jordan was first placed in a knee immobilizer and walked with crutches for a month to avoid further damage. The torn meniscus was repaired in the initial surgery, followed by the knee reconstruction a few weeks later.

The damaged ACL was removed. Then Dr. Welker removed a section of the knee patella ligament with a small amount of bone from the kneecap and shin attached. The bone parts were then attached with screws to the thigh and shinbones, effectively creating a replacement ACL. Within a few months the bone bonds, and within two years the body regenerates the patella ligament to its full size.  

Months of rehabilitation followed the surgery. Under the care of John Cornelissen, coordinator of the MVH Sports Medicine Center, physical therapist and certified athletic trainer, the rehab process began. When confident that she could put mild pressure on her knee, Jordan did light workouts with low impact exercises, such as cycling. Jordan was an excellent patient and quickly regained her complete range of motion. After this, she started strengthening exercises which soon lead to agility workouts that resembled the motions that Jordan would use in soccer. Jordan's recovery went flawlessly. Her dedication to the rehab program allowed her to return to play soccer for the fall season, only three months later.

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