Conditions + Treatments
I started doing competitive cheerleading in 5th grade and instantly fell in love with it. I always loved to tumble, but I had a love/hate relationship with fulls. I could never completely pull through, and it was very frustrating.
One night in 2008, I was on a tumble track, a long trampoline with a squishy mat at the end of it, doing one full after another. I was getting very frustrated because I could not complete the turn, but I was determined to get it right that night. I was way too tired, but I refused to give up. My coach told me to try one more time because he knew how worn out I was getting. During that last tumbling pass, I landed on the mat still trying to pull through, and my foot got caught on the mat. Right when I landed, I heard and felt a pop in my left knee. I immediately dropped into a ball, and started screaming crying. My coach ran over, and my mom ran down from the viewing balcony.
Thankfully, we knew right then it was not my ACL because I could move it and put some weight on it. A couple of days later, I went to a doctor who recommended physical therapy because he just thought I hyperextended my knee. After two different rounds of physical therapy, I knew it was more than that.
Some family friends had mentioned going to see Dr. Jeffrey Dugas at Andrews Sports Medicine in Birmingham. We set up an appointment, and right when he came into the room, I knew he truly cared about finding out what happened to my knee. He recommended doing a MRI and set it up that day. The MRI showed that I had torn my meniscus, but he noticed it was not a normal meniscus tear. He wanted to do a scope to try and pump blood to my meniscus to see if that would help. After a few months of therapy at Champion Sports Medicine in Trussville, I was released.
I started college in the fall of 2010, and I started to notice that my knee started hurting again. I went back to Dr. Dugas, and he recommended doing another MRI, but this time he wanted to put dye in my knee to show where my tear actually was. After that MRI, he saw that I had torn my meniscus right in the middle. This was not like your normal meniscus tear, and he wanted to go in again, but this time put sutures to sew up my tear. When I came home for Christmas break, he performed the surgery. I went back to Champion Sports Medicine in Trussville for the first half of therapy, and then finished my therapy at Champion Sports Medicine in Tuscaloosa when I returned to school.
Almost 6 years later, my knee feels great. What I loved most about Dr. Dugas is that even after my cheerleading days were over, he treated me like I was his top athlete. He did not treat me differently even after he knew I was not planning on cheering again. He truly cared about healing my knee, and he took the time out to carefully look at my MRI. If Dr. Dugas had not taken the time to carefully look at my MRI, I would still be wondering what happened to my knee. I am forever grateful for what Dr. Dugas and his team did for me, and I would recommend him to anyone.