When an athlete comes to the end of his/her career, there is an emotional and physical transition process that takes place. With a career-ending injury, however, the cause of this change is sudden. An abrupt and unexpected halt leaves no time or opportunity to plan for a transition out of the sport. An athlete is hard-pressed to come up with solid coping strategies to alleviate the shock and make the necessary lifestyle adjustments associated with unanticipated sports’ retirement. The distress is even more severe when the injury is unusually complicated, with no defined protocol on how to address it or professional consensus on how to repair it.
A complex knee ligament injury with severe cartilage damage ended my collegiate athletic career. Prior to Dr. Minas, I was heading in a downward spiral, living each day in chronic pain. I had seen multiple doctors and had multiple procedures which failed to resolve my problems; my injury proved to be very challenging to the top in the orthopedic field.
Upon meeting Dr. Minas, however, I knew I was in excellent care. He took interest in me both as a person and an athlete. Dr. Minas took the time to understand my personal well-being goals, which were considered in his overall approach and plan. He addressed the complexities of my injury in a confident and pragmatic manner, thoroughly explaining his surgical plan while answering all my questions and concerns.
In addition to being extremely talented and highly accomplished in orthopedics and cartilage repair, Dr. Minas was one of the most down to earth and approachable surgeons I had ever met. Even after an extended day of surgeries where it was well after hours, he stopped in the post-op room to explain my procedure outcomes. The next day, Dr. Minas personally checked on me before being released from St. Mary’s Hospital.
To put me on the path of healing and regaining an active lifestyle, Dr. Minas recommended an innovative cartilage procedure called matrix autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI) with a high tibial osteotomy. With MACI, Dr. Minas took a small sample of cartilage from my knee and sent it off to a lab, where new cartilage (my own) was grown. Dr. Minas then implanted these tissue cells back into my knee. For the first six weeks after surgery, I was touch-down weight-bearing and used a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine for 6-8 hours a day to prevent stiffness and promote healing. Several months of physical therapy enabled me to build muscle and regain strength in my leg. After a total recovery period of about a year, I am happily enjoying hiking, biking, and other physical activities that previously caused me great pain. I recently celebrated with a trip with friends to Denver, Colorado, where we hiked over 15 miles up and down beautiful mountains.
Dr. Minas’s compassion and dedication to his patients is evident. It was clear that I was more than just a damaged knee; Dr. Minas treated me as a person–a young athlete going through a full healing process. I am very grateful and fortunate to be under his care.