Gillette Children’s continues to expand its sports medicine program to help even more children recover from sports or trauma-related injuries.
These injuries can come from overuse, an imbalance of strength or joint range of motion, trauma, or a pre-existing condition. The Gillette sports medicine team has advanced training to understand the underlying causes of an injury and has a variety of treatment options to help patients make a quick and full recovery.
The specialized care children need
Emma Durward from Knife River, Minnesota came to Gillette to get care for an injury caused by trauma. Her parents, Marcie and Matt, report Emma sat down in a church parking lot to put on her shoes and was run over by a car driven by a person who did not see her. Emma sustained a broken neck, broken tibia and had a compressed spine as a result of the accident.
Emma had a long road to recovery at an area hospital, and her parents say she made progress in the year after the accident. One thing continued to concern Marcie and Matt. They noticed their daughter could only take a few steps before she collapsed. They took her to a local health care provider who said Emma needed to go to a place that specializes in unique care and referred the Durward’s to Gillette.
"The only place that would help her"
“Gillette Children’s was the only place that would help her,” Marcie says. “Nobody was willing to touch her ACL because of her growth plates. But once she started collapsing, we knew we had to do something.”
An ACL injury is the over-stretching or tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. A tear may be partial or complete. The ACL is one of the strong bands of tissue that helps to connect the thigh bone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia). Many people report a “popping” sensation in the knee when an ACL injury occurs.
Most people connect an ACL injury with adults or professional sports players. It is unusual for a young child to have an ACL injury. Gillette orthopedic sports medicine doctors and orthopedic surgeons, Trent Cooper, DO, MS, and Marc Tompkins, MD specialize in treating children and reassured the Durward’s that they could help their now 5-year-old daughter.
Cooper and Tompkins performed ACL reconstruction surgery on Emma. Since she is so small, the team used a modified elbow brace that was small enough to fit Emma’s knee. The Gillette team is known for being creative and innovative when it comes to caring for young patients.
Gillette has a range of treatment options
Other facilities that treat sports-related and soft tissue injuries do not have the in-depth pediatric services that Gillette can provide, such as pediatric physical therapy and anesthesia. The team at Gillette includes orthotic specialists who can recommend bracing and other tools to help children recover. Even fewer facilities are equipped to meet the needs of children who have disabilities or complex medical conditions.
A good ACL recovery
Emma recovered well after the ACL surgery and is now in physical therapy.
The Durward’s recently made the two-hour drive south from Knife River to the Gillette main campus in St. Paul for an appointment with Cooper and Tompkins. The sports medicine team will monitor Emma for the next few years to track her progress.
Emma and her parents look forward to their appointments with the Gillette team. Emma says she loves the doctors, and they always make her feel comfortable.
Marcie and Matt are grateful they came to Gillette and are pleased with Emma’s recovery.
“Emma is our warrior, and she is fearless,” Marcie says. “Praise be to God and the Gillette team!”
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