Skip to main content

A broken ankle during rugby sidelined this athlete — here's how she got back in the game.

When 19-year-old Maddy Ross, a junior at the University of Central Florida, was competing at a rugby tournament in New Orleans, the last thing she was worried about was an injury.

With her adrenaline pumping, she felt no pain at first when she was tackled and rolled her ankle during the game. But after a few minutes, she knew something wasn’t right, so she had her ankle taped by an athletic trainer and sat out the rest of the game.

A broken ankle takes her out of the game

After enduring a 10-hour drive home, Ms. Ross had an X-ray that revealed a broken ankle.

“I was devastated,” she says. “This happened at a very bad time during the competitive season, and being out of the game was really hard.”

Surgery the next day resulted in a screw and pin being placed in her ankle and a boot she wore for 6 weeks. Ms. Ross struggled with recovery when it finally came off, feeling quite a bit of discomfort and a limited ability to do sports. She wondered if she would be able to return to competitive rugby.

When she returned home for the summer to Dallas, Pa., Ms. Ross started physical therapy at Geisinger. She saw an improvement within a few weeks, but still wasn’t training like she wanted to.

So she took it a step further and made an appointment with Dr. John Lynott, orthopaedic surgeon at Geisinger Orthopaedics in Wilkes-Barre

A second surgery reveals damage to her ligament

Dr. Lynott suggested that a second surgery for Ms. Ross could help her regain some of her previous physical abilities. Dr. Lynott performed a procedure to remove the pin and screw from her ankle, and sure enough, it began to improve.

“When we went in and took out the hardware, there seemed to be some damage to the ligament,” says Dr. Lynott. “I repaired that during the surgery and it really helped Maddy take her recovery and training to the next level, where she wanted to be.”

More physical therapy after the surgery kept her performance moving in the right direction. And in no time, Ms. Ross was back to playing the starting position on her team.

Next steps:

Read how Perthes disease won't keep this young athlete out of the game
Meet Mark Seeley, MD
Learn about orthopaedic surgery at Geisinger

Maddy Ross playing Rugby.

Get orthopaedic care