Ella Dickerson

Cold Springs, Alabama

Conditions + Treatments

ACL Injury/Reconstruction


Athletics are a key part of my life. I started playing basketball in the 4th grade. All my friends talked me into playing, then I quickly realized I actually really enjoy it! My Dad and I would go to the gym all the time to shoot, and once I got to middle school, I started playing on the high school’s junior varsity team. 

I also started playing volleyball and running track in 7th grade. I ran the 100m and 300m hurdles, and I did long jump in track. I was quickly realizing I belonged on a court or on a track. In 7th grade I went to state and ran the 300m hurdles for the 3rd time in my life and ended up placing 6th in 2A as well as placing 7th in the 100m hurdles. I knew next year I could cut my time and work to place higher in the state. The high school team at the time had won state in basketball. I was looking forward to having that opportunity soon.

I accomplished a goal of mine and made the varsity basketball team in 8th grade. Although I love track and volleyball, I have a passion for basketball. I was ready to tackle my first varsity season.

The Injury

We had played 6 games prior to our first home game. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, we had a basketball practice before our first home game of the season. I was going past a defender for a layup, when midair, the defender hit the side of my knee. I had some slight pain, but I didn’t hear a pop. My parents and I didn’t think anything of the injury. The next night, I played my first varsity home game. I ran through all the warmups and plays before the game. Slowly I began limping. As they called my name out for the starting lineup, I limped out to shake hands with the ref. I ignored the limp and tried to keep going. A few minutes later we had our first offensive possession. I got the basketball and tried to make a pass, but as soon as I did my leg gave out.

My family and I still were not sure what was wrong. Thankfully, Dr. Monte Ketchum saw us to get an X-Ray and set up for an MRI. On Wednesday morning, Dr. Jeffery Dugas gave me the news that I would need ACL reconstruction surgery. It was a roller coaster of emotions, but I was ready to complete the surgery and start working hard to recover.

The Surgery

The day of surgery, I was ready to go. A close friend gave me a bracelet that said “The Best Is Yet To Come.” I knew I was ready to get the process started. Honestly, my mom was more nervous than me. Dr. Dugas and his entire team were great at making sure my mom was okay, and informed while also making sure that I was good and taken care of. Thank you, Dr. Dugas, and his team for taking care of both my mom and me!

The Recovery

I began doing recovery and physical therapy after surgery. It was definitely not always easy, but my faith and determination lead me through. I was able to get to a 70-degree bend in 3 days. At my 2-week post-op visit, my recover was ahead of schedule. During all of my post-op visits Dr. Dugas was always encouraging and guiding me. Overall, I had a great team behind me!

I took my first Biodex test 3 months out of surgery, which is not normally common. I barely failed it, but my second time around I passed! Dr. Dugas fully cleared me on August 7, but I did go all out 100% in my physical activity until September, when I reached my 9th month post-op milestone. 

Reflecting back, I never realized how much I missed basketball. An unexpected benefit during this process has been the opportunity to work with Thomas Twitty at Pure Performance. The knowledge that I have gained from Thomas has given me a new insight on injury prevention and becoming more explosive in my athletic abilities. 

Dr. Dugas has been on my side through it all, along with help from the best therapist Walt Sanders and our athletic trainer, Stanley Johnson! My faith, family, Andrews Sports Medicine, my therapist, athletic trainers, teammates, coaches and friends have all helped me get to where I am today.

Treatment Providers
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Jeffrey R. Dugas, MD
Jeffrey R. Dugas, MD View Bio
Monte M. Ketchum, DO
Monte M. Ketchum, DO View Bio