Easton High School Senior Shelby Stocker knew that she didn’t want to give up her final basketball season after tearing her ACL, so she depended on Orthopedic Surgeon Nick Slenker, MD and Physical Therapist Mike Price to get her back into shape.
Eighteen-year-old Shelby Stocker is no stranger to athletic injuries. She’s been playing basketball since she was in third grade and has had multiple sprains and strains and even dislocated her shoulder twice. However, when she hurt herself in a game last summer, she knew it was serious.
“I was playing hard because it was a showcase and there were college recruiters there. I did a jump shot and I planted my leg. I heard my knee pop and couldn’t move,” says Stocker.
Because Stocker’s mom works at Lafayette College she knows their team physician, Coordinated Health’s Orthopedic Surgeon Nick Slenker, MD, and made an appointment for Stocker to see him right away. After a thorough exam and MRI, Dr. Slenker told her that she had torn her ACL.
“My heart just sank when he told me and I cried. But, I knew that I didn’t want to miss my senior year playing basketball so I was going to have to work hard,” she says.
Dr. Slenker performed a minimally invasive arthroscopic ACL reconstruction that allowed Stocker to go home the same day. During the procedure he used a small camera as a guide that transmits pictures from inside the knee to a TV monitor. He then took a small piece of tissue from the front of the knee, which has bone on both ends and a section of tendon stretched between and inserted it into place between the end of the thighbone and the top of the shin.
Although Stocker said she was sore after the surgery, she knew she was going to need to push through the pain in order to get back on the court. She began physical therapy with Mike Price, PT who worked with her on regaining her strength in her injured leg.
“The success of physical therapy is really up to the patient. You need to work hard in physical therapy and keep up with it at home in order to see results. Shelby was very motivated,” says Price.
Price says the overall goal for physical therapy after an ACL tear is to reduce swelling, restore mobility, regain range of motion, and improve overall strength of the quad and hamstring muscles. He says this is done through a variety of movement and strengthening exercises and in the end some light jogging.
After several months of hard work, Dr. Slenker cleared Stocker to play her senior year of basketball. Now she’s got her sights set on bigger goals. “I’m really hoping that this is a great season for us. I’d love to make it to states this year,” she says. Stocker is also hoping to continue her basketball career at Lafayette College, but hopes that she only sees team physician Dr. Slenker on the sidelines.
Stocker credits both Dr. Slenker and Mike Price, PT. for her success. “I think that Dr. Slenker and Mike worked great as a team. They were always in communication with each other and I think that really helped to speed up my recovery,” she says.
Editors Note: Congratulations to Shelby and her teammates at Easton High School. They were district champions for the first time in 18 years and made it to states!