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The Race to Recovery

Little Rock Teen Will Run Track Again after Surgery with Arkansas Children’s Sports Medicine

As an athletic eighth-grader, Sam was enjoying his first year running track at Pulaski Heights Middle School. His team was competing in a relay, and he was preparing to run the anchor leg - the fastest leg of the race. His team was behind, so when it came time for Sam to run, he pushed as hard as he could, hoping to help his team place. At the very end of the race, Sam felt a pop and literally fell over the finish line.

Athletic trainers from Arkansas Children's were on-hand and ran to help Sam off the track. They evaluated him on the sidelines and initially thought he'd pulled his hamstring.

"The trainers gave us specific instructions about what to look for and when to take him to the doctor," says Kathy, Sam's mother. "Over the weekend he didn't get better, so we took him to the ER at Arkansas Children's for X-rays."

The ER X-rays showed Sam did injure his hamstring. In fact, he tore the tendon and broke a small piece of his pelvic bone, too. Sam was then referred to the orthopedic clinic at Arkansas Children’s, where he was seen by Dr. Michael Israel, adolescent medicine and sports medicine physician, and Dr. Brant Sachleben, sports medicine specialist and pediatric orthopedic surgeon, with ACH’s Sports Medicine program.

After a CT scan, the physicians determined the pelvic break was large enough to require surgery. Dr. Sachleben used two pins to secure the piece of bone.

Sam spent two nights at Arkansas Children's Hospital. While he was in the hospital, Victor Prati, a physical therapist at ACH, created an elaborate strap device to keep Sam's knee at a 90-degree angle when standing up. After going home from surgery, Sam spent the first week in bed then progressed to a wheelchair and crutches.

Three months later, Sam's bone has healed enough for him to have physical therapy twice a week with Victor. He's been cleared to jog and swim this summer, and he's looking forward to his second year of track next spring.

Arkansas Children's provides comprehensive sports medicine care. From the sidelines through recovery - our team is always in the game to help athletes heal quickly and completely.   

If your favorite developing athlete has been injured, connect with ACH Sports Medicine by contacting 501-364-GAME (501-364-4263).