Down, but Not Out

Down but Not Out

A torn ACL ended most of Tyler Richter’s high school sports career, but it hasn’t ended his college one.

It was the middle of December when then 18-year-old Tyler Richter fell to the ground with a knee injury during basketball practice. Tyler, a Bismarck High School basketball and baseball player, knew something serious had just happened.

An MRI revealed Tyler had torn his ACL. “The ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee. It helps you plant, twist and accelerate. Without it, the knee is unstable,” says Tyler’s doctor Tim Juelson. An orthopedic surgeon at The Bone & Joint Center,  Dr. Juelson says ACL injuries are fairly common, especially in athletes. “We are seeing some 400,000 cases a year in the nation and that number is rising.”

Although not everyone needs ACL reconstruction surgery to fix the injury, Tyler did. In fact, surgery is advised with most young, athletic patients. During surgery Dr. Juelson used an autograft to replace the damaged ligament. The autograft (proven to be the most successful type of graft in youth athletes with ACL injuries), was Tyler’s own patella tendons with bone plugs. With the autograft he was able to successfully “create” a new ACL, one that would allow Tyler to return to sports.

According to Dr. Juelson, the key to success after an ACL injury depends on two things, the surgery and the patient. He says, “After the surgery, it is really up to the patient to gain back his or her range of motion through therapy and rehab. Tyler worked very hard to get to where he wanted to be.” Tyler completed a physical therapy and rehab program and returned to play quickly and successfully.

Nine months after suffering the devastating knee injury, Tyler says he is doing well. “The doctors and physical therapists did a great job getting me back to where I was before and back to playing sports,” says Tyler. And although the injury ended most of his high school career, it hasn’t ended his college one. He has signed on to play baseball for Minot State University.

To schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at The Bone & Joint Center, call 530-8650 or (866) 900-8650.