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Back to ballet and weightlifting after two fractures

Amelia was worried about recovering from two fractures in her leg, but her care team had her back in action in no time.

When a fun afternoon skating with friends ended at the Geisinger emergency room in Danville, Amelia Benjamin’s mother, Michelle, figured they’d set her daughter’s leg in a cast and send her home. As it turned out, Amelia needed surgery.

“It didn’t hurt at first, but when I tried to stand I couldn’t. I’d fractured my left tibia and fibula,” says Amelia Benjamin, 15, of Danville.

Amelia undergoes surgery for her fractures

Because she has Type 1 diabetes, doctors were concerned Amelia’s fractures wouldn’t heal properly with just a cast. They’d heal better and faster with stabilizing rods. Mark Seeley, MD, surgically implanted two of them through fingernail-sized incisions around Amelia’s knee.

A weightlifter, dancer and tennis player, Amelia had hit her peak strength at Resurrection Movement Studio, a Danville dance and fitness facility where her mother works.

“After the injury, there was a fear in back of my head that I’d never be able to do what I’d done before,” Amelia says.

But with Dr. Seeley’s help, she tackled her rehabilitation at home — since COVID-19 had most facilities closed for business.

Amelia celebrates her recovery in Tik Tok videos

After surgery, in a full leg cast, Amelia began rehabbing on her own, 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.

An instant connection formed between Amelia and Dr. Seeley, according to Amelia’s mother. “In one of the post-surgical visits, she even had him Tik-Tokking,” she says.

Amelia made an outstanding recovery. Before long, she was stronger than ever — and able to dead lift 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.”

Amelia says her last appointment with Dr. Seeley “was a sad day.”

“This was not just about fixing a broken leg,” Amelia’s mother says. “This was a relationship. We’ll probably be sending Dr. Seeley Christmas cards for a long time.”

Next steps:

Read and watch more stories
Meet Mark Seeley, MD
Learn about pediatric orthopaedics at Geisinger

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