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“Stay positive. An injury can build character and make you stronger.”
Sixteen-year-old Easton Area High School sophomore, Domenique Catalano, is a rising star. At the top of her class academically, she’s also a team captain at Mystic Field Hockey. When she was sidelined by an ACL tear, she turned to Coordinated Health for help.
During a January scrimmage with USA Field Hockey’s Futures – an elite training program for top high school athletes – she was hooked from behind by a teammate and knocked to the ground. When she tried to get up, her knee couldn’t bear the weight. An athletic trainer checked her on the field, and said the three little letters no athlete wants to hear: ACL.
“The first thing I thought of was recovery time,” she said. “Three months with no running. Six months of PT. Would I be able to make it back by junior year?”
Domenique rushed to Dr. Jason Rudolph for an MRI, and received a same-day diagnosis. While her worst ACL fears were confirmed, Dr. Rudolph assured her that she would excel at her recovery just as she excels at her sport.
“A positive mindset can overrule all your doubts,” Domenique says. “One of the things I love about CH is that they’re always telling me, ‘you’ve got this.’”
Three months later, Domenique’s recovery is way ahead of schedule. She’s worked hard with physical therapist, Mike Price, and will be cleared to run within weeks. By the time she starts junior year, she’ll be at the top of her game.
“Domenique is the best kind of patient. She’s eager to get back on the field, but she understands the best way to get there is by following the directions of her doctor and therapist.”
As a former Division I football player, orthopedic surgeon Jason Rudolph has a special appreciation for the challenges of injured athletes. He’s particularly attuned to the needs of young athletes and serves as Moravian Academy’s Team Physician.
This wasn’t Dr. Rudolph’s first encounter with Domenique. He’s known her since she was a 4th grade cheerleader and she came to him with two torn ligaments in her left ankle. She watched with fascination as he drew her ankle on the white paper on the exam room table and mapped out how the surgery would correct her injuries. When she told him she wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon, he replied: “I would hire you tomorrow if I could.”
She would never forget those words.
“There is no glass ceiling for Domenique. She’s going to break through it!“
Robin Catalano is a sports mom to her core, so it’s no surprise her three children are athletes – and they’ve all been Coordinated Health patients at one time or another. Through all of life’s bumps and bruises – physical or emotional – Robin’s been there to soothe and support her kids.
Domenique started her athletic career as a cheerleader when she was just 4 years old. That was around the same time she decided she wanted to be a surgeon when she grew up.
“She had her tonsils taken out, and she just knew,” Robin recalls fondly.
In elementary school Domenique moved on to wrestling. In middle school she became a champion hurdler. And in 8th grade she discovered her passion for field hockey.
Over time, Robin has watched her daughter grow into a resilient, smart young lady.
“She has always been comfortable doing traditionally male activities,” Robin says. “When she met Dr. Rudolph and decided she wanted to do orthopedics, it was no surprise to us. She’s fearless.”
Physical therapist Mike Price is known at Coordinated Health as the go-to guy for student athletes. Mike’s warmth and good humor are apparent in the nicknames he gives his young patients. Domenique’s knee injury and brace earned her the name “Chief Hop-a-long.” And whenever she started to feel down, Mike would get her to sing along to her treadmill workout.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better therapist,” Domenique says.
According to Mike, “Domenique did fantastically after a very tough injury and surgery. It was a pleasure to work with her through this temporary setback in her high school career. I have no doubt she will do well in her future endeavors.”
“Domenique is an outstanding young woman. She’s motivated and insightful – not just about her immediate athletic goals but also her future as a professional.”
“Domenique is rare in the way she has attacked her situation without fear. She has become stronger and more confident in dealing with adversity.”
Phil Danaher is known as a field hockey evangelist. As the Director of Mystic Hockey Club, he is a beloved figure at practices and games – providing quiet strength and guidance to his club members. And with a career spanning more than 30 years, including membership on the USA Men’s Masters World Cup Team, Phil knows field hockey talent when he sees it.
“Domenique is an exceptional young lady on and off the field,” Phil says of his team captain. “She’s a great leader and team player.”
For over a decade, Coordinated Health clinicians, such as Dr. Carl Weiss, Dr. Brett Godbout and PT Gary Schoenberger, have supported the team through injuries and recoveries. All three clinicians have daughters who have played for the MHC team, and Phil still keeps up with every one of them.
“It’s wonderful to see these two great teams – Mystic Hockey Club and Coordinated Health – work together to help these young women and men to perform at their best,” Phil says.