From Sideline to the Starting Line
From Sideline to the Starting Line

Physician: Chris Vincent
Patient: Olivia

Olivia immediately knew something was wrong. She felt terrible pain; however, never having experienced a sports-related injury before, she was unaware of how serious her injury could be. Her mind began to race, What if I am never able to run again? When her teammates had to carry her off the basketball court, she knew she had to reach out for medical attention.

A life-long athlete, Olivia began running track as a seventh-grader. She instantly loved the sport and worked hard for the opportunity to run in college. “Nothing beats the rush of adrenaline I get once the starter gun goes off,” she says. However, these dreams were immediately put into question after she landed on her foot wrong during a layup attempt at a basketball game in 2012.

“The day after my injury I went to Wayne County Hospital and the emergency physician referred me to Iowa Ortho,” she says.

During her first appointment, Dr. Chris Vincent explained that she had most likely torn her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He explained what it meant and how this injury is surgically treated. He calmed her fears about recovery and ordered an MRI to confirm the diagnosis. The next day Olivia got the phone call athletes never want to receive. It was confirmed: Olivia had torn her ACL.

The injury required surgery, which can be scary for anyone. But Oliva had never had any surgery before and did not know what to expect. After sharing her concerns with Dr. Vincent, Olivia says she remembers feeling comfortable going in for the actual surgery, but more was afraid of getting an IV. She was glad that Dr. Vincent helped make the process less stressful and scary.

While repairing Olivia’s ACL Dr. Vincent also corrected a slightly torn meniscus but found no additional problems. She was discharged from the hospital on the same day. Once home, she recuperated incredibly well. Within a week she was off of crutches and began intense physical therapy. Then, only a short 10 weeks later, Olivia felt ready to return to the track.

“That is what makes this story so amazing. With Olivia’s hard work at physical therapy and Dr. Vincent’s amazing talents, 10 weeks later she was back on the track,” says Olivia’s father.

“The hardest part of recovery was getting it through my head that I couldn’t give up on myself,” says Olivia.

She had a strong will to run again. That determination and hard work in conjunction with excellent medical care would land her back at the start line, heart beating and waiting for the starting gun.

Of course, Dr. Vincent had no doubt Olivia would be a winner. He shares in the excitement of her 20 medals the following season and her qualification for the state track and field tournament in the 4×800 race.