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“Right after being cleared from my hip injury, I hurt myself again. I couldn’t believe it.”
16-year-old high school sophomore Joe Young is no stranger to Coordinated Health. The high school quarterback is the youngest of three athletic brothers, who have all had their share of sports injuries. But this year Joe suffered not one, but two sports injuries putting his athletic career in jeopardy.
Football is in Joe Young’s blood. Both of Joe’s older brothers, Josh and Jake, played football. But his family was still surprised at how much promise the young quarterback showed when he entered high school.
“I think everyone was impressed at the respect he commanded right from the start,” says Joe’s mother Carla.
Although Joe is a standout athlete, he has had to overcome some rather large hurdles. Last fall he fractured his hip during a football game. And shortly after he made a complete recovery from that injury with the help of Coordinated Health, he was injured again.
“During a gym class I was coming down after dunking a basketball and fell,” Joe recalls. “I heard a popping noise in my elbow and my heart sank.”
He went to see Coordinated Health orthopedic surgeon Dan Terpstra. He diagnosed a sprain in the ulnar collateral ligament on the inside of his elbow. While this type of injury is not usually a big deal, it can be a real problem for throwing athletes like Joe.
“I was really depressed at the idea of more downtime,” says Joe. “And when I heard it could affect my throwing I was scared.”
Fortunately, Joe’s injury did not require surgery. But his arm did need to be immobilized for several weeks while it healed. That was followed by six weeks of physical therapy and a training program to help restore the function of his throwing arm.
Today Joe is getting ready for the football season. He credits the love and support of his family for his quick recovery.
“The fact that both Jake and Josh had come back from injuries to play collegiate sports helped me stay motivated and positive during my recovery and rehab,” Joe says.
Coordinated Health Orthopedic Surgeon Dan Terpstra is no stranger to the Young family. He’s been treating the three athletic brothers for a number of years. But even he was surprised to see Joe so soon after his hip fracture.
“When I walked in he was like, ‘Dude, this couldn’t have happened again,’” Joe laughs.
Dr. Terpstra ordered an MRI for Joe. After looking over the images and performing a thorough physical exam, Dr. Terpstra concluded that Joe had sprained his ulnar collateral ligament and had a partial tear.
Joe didn’t need surgery, but Dr. Terpstra recommended a three-step program. The first step was to immobilize Joe’s arm in a sling and get the swelling down. The next was to get his range of motion back through physical therapy. And finally, he would regain his strength and prepare for the football season with a throwing program.
Dr. Terpstra is happy with Joe’s progress through physical therapy, and has no doubt that he’ll be ready for football in the fall. He thinks Joe’s attitude had a lot to do with his recovery.
“He’s a tough kid. Very focused and driven,” Dr. Terpestra says. “He listens well and has a good work ethic.”
“All athletes get injuries. The most important thing is to get an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment to prevent further injury.”
“You just can’t take the athlete out of these boys!”
As the mother of three athletic boys who have had their share of sports injuries, Carla Young has become quite familiar with Coordinated Health. Carla often jokes that she has five sons: Josh, Jake, Joe, PT Mike Price and Dr. Terpstra.
“Coming to Coordinated Health is like going to see family,” she says. “They are so warm and welcoming and full of good humor.”
But, even she had trouble believing that Joe, her youngest, suffered two sports injuries within months.
“He called me from school and told me that he had hurt himself in gym class and needed to go to Coordinated Health,” Carla recalls. “I was like ‘Joe, really? You just got over a broken hip!”
But after seeing him through that first injury, Carla had no doubt he would come back from his latest.
“I’m so proud of Joe,” she says. “He has worked so hard this year and has overcome so much.”
PT Mike Price has gotten to know Joe Young quite well this year while treating him for both his hip and elbow injuries.
“I like to joke that we did such a good job rehabbing his hip, he just had to come back for more,” Mike says.
Although the injury wasn’t severe, Mike knew how crucial physical therapy would be to the young quarterback’s recovery.
“This type of injury affects throwing mechanics quite a bit,” he says. “So you need proper rehab to get back to throwing a football.”
In the beginning, Mike concentrated on getting Joe’s range of motion back. He then focused on strengthening his biceps and triceps. After that, they moved on to proprioceptive activities to restore his throwing mechanics to their pre-injury level.
Mike believes Joe’s hard work and motivation helped him recover and is confident that he will be more than ready for the upcoming football season.
“Joe’s eyes are on returning to football,” Mike says. “Tailoring his rehab to fit his goals was a real motivator.”
“I’ve nicknamed him The Mighty Joe Young. But if he keeps this up, I’m going to have to change that to ‘Fragile.’ ”