An athlete’s comeback from a bad break
By Paula Franken
Danville High School student Amelia Benjamin plays for the tennis team and is a weightlifter and a dancer. Hip hop and contemporary are her favorites.
Like most 15-year-olds, she also enjoys hanging out with friends — and they were with her the day she fractured her leg in two places. “I knew I was in trouble when the toe pick of my skate got stuck in the ice,” she says. “Before I knew it, I was falling backwards.”At first, Amelia thought she was okay. But when she tried to stand, she couldn’t. And that’s when the pain set in. “I’d never broken anything before, so I wasn’t sure what was happening. But I knew it was bad,” she says.
Her brother and friends rushed in to help. They called her parents, who drove her to Geisinger Medical Center’s emergency room. Her mom assumed they’d set her daughter’s leg in a cast and send her home.
As it turned out, Amelia needed surgery.
Because she has Type 1 diabetes, doctors were concerned her fractures wouldn’t mend properly with just a cast. Healing would go better and faster with stabilizing rods. So pediatric orthopaedic surgeon Mark Seeley, MD, implanted two of them through fingernail-sized incisions around Amelia’s knee.
Amelia was afraid she’d never be able to do what she’d done before at the gym, on the court or on the stage, especially since COVID-19 had most rehab facilities closed for business. But with Dr. Seeley’s help, she tackled her rehabilitation at home.
In a full leg cast, Amelia began deadlifting the end of a couch and improvising other workouts. Within a few months she’d returned to form and sent Dr. Seeley Tik Tok videos of herself lifting weights and dancing.
Amelia made an outstanding recovery. Before long, she was stronger than ever — and able to deadlift 225 pounds.
“Patients like Amelia make you, as a physician, want to come to work every day,” Dr. Seeley says. “They’re able to take a very negative experience and turn it into something positive. And you get to watch them transform from someone very scared and apprehensive to someone who took their experience and used it as a trampoline to do bigger and better things in life.”
Dedication. Discipline. Drive.
When Mifflin County High School basketball star Ty Felmslee took to the court on the Huskies’ final game of the season, few in the audience could have known what it took to get him there.
Six months and 20 days earlier, Ty had torn a ligament in his knee. The injury was serious enough to require surgery, and he’d been recovering and rehabilitating ever since.
Geisinger athletic trainer Zach Kavo, who also worked as a trainer at the high school, began working with Ty shortly after his injury and helped get him scheduled with the orthopaedic surgeon.
“Ty was determined to return to basketball this season and immediately bought into the rehab process,” Mr. Kavo says. “There were times when we had to hold him back a little because he always wanted to do more. Ty worked extremely hard to get back to play — and seeing the smile on his face and the crowd’s reaction when he made his three-pointer made all the hard work worth it.”
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