February 10, 2020 was the first game in our regional basketball tournament. My team, Coach Hood, and I had spent long hours in the the gym preparing for this game. We analyzed game film, ran plays, practiced shooting, and Coach Hood even had some of our boys' basketball players come in to run our opponent's plays in a scrimmage against us. We were ready. As a 14-year old starting varsity guard for Pleasant Valley High School, I was never more excited and nervous about playing in a game before.
Friendships are invaluable. I am certainly grateful to my two close friends who recognized something was wrong one day in the summer of 2020. They observed me walking and told me that "my walk was off." My friends, along with my rowing coach, encouraged me to get it checked out.
In December of 2018, I went to a tumbling practice just like I had done every day for the last five years. I warmed up, I stretched, I tumbled the same passes I had for months with no difficulty. During one of my last passes ( a pass I had thrown at least 100 times prior) something went terribly wrong. I landed with one of my knees hyperextended and instantly heard a "pop." I wasn't able to walk, or put weight on my left leg. I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea the complexity of my injury.
I grew up on a farm and have been working on it my whole life. We have cattle, chicken houses and row crop operations where we grow cotton and peanuts. From an early age, I enjoyed the work and knew I wanted to carry it over into my professional career. So, I studied to become a large animal veterinarian.
I was at track & field practice one day in the Spring of 2018 when I came to a stop from sprinting and I felt a huge pop in my knee.
I honestly did not think anything of it because my knees pop and hurt often. I thought I would get over the pain, but as time went on the pain started to increase. The next day I went to the doctor & had an MRI, which revealed medial & lateral meniscus tears as well as MCL and ACL sprain/partial tears. I underwent a knee arthroscopy at another orthopaedic practice in March, 2018.
My son, Jacob, who is in now in his senior year at Oak Mountain High School, plays football and wrestles for the Eagles. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 2018 football season Jacob experienced a severe contact injury. During practice while his leg was planted, a teammate rolled into the side of his leg, resulting in a severe, left knee injury.
My son, Jaden, a senior at Homewood High School, was injured during summer football practice in late June, 2018. Jaden was participating in 7-on-7 drills as a defensive back and was covering a receiver. When Jaden went to plant his left foot, he felt his left knee buckle.
PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Clause (USA TODAY Network)
December 17, 2018
Dear Dr. Emblom,
On October 26, 2017, we walked into Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center devastated. We had driven 7 hours from Lafayette, Louisiana for a third opinion about Zachary's knee. You read the reports, looked at the MRI, then walked in the room to meet us. The first words you spoke to us were "This is not a football ending injury." For the first time in a week, we were able to exhale. We scheduled the surgery for the very next day.
Dr. Benton Emblom and his staff are phenomenal. My 15 year-old son tore his ACL, PCL, MCL and medial meniscus in a Friday night football game.
On the Saturday morning after the injury, we saw Dr. Ryan Palmer at EAMC. Once it was confirmed Max had a torn PCL, Dr. Palmer said he didn't feel comfortable doing the surgery and he referred us to Dr. Emblom. Dr. Palmer's honesty was overwhelming.
Before going to Andrews we were told Max's chances of playing sports again was slim to none. Once we saw Dr. Emblom he assured us Max would come back.
My name is Tiffany Robinson Chandler and Dr. Jeff Dugas is one of my most favorite people.
I first met Dr. Dugas in 2003 when I had UCL surgery on my left elbow. Little did I realize that God had many more opportunities for Dr. Dugas and me to cross paths. In 2004 I had my first ACL surgery while doing gymnastics at Auburn University, but it wasn’t then that my relationship with Dr. Dugas started to form. I transferred my junior year, in 2006, to Troy University to cheer.