Avera Medical Minute: Student athlete’s road to recovery after a torn ACL

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An ACL tear sidelined Brookings High School senior Isaac Von Fischer this past October while playing what would be his last high school sporting event.

“Just knowing that my sports career was done. That was hard,” said Von Fischer.

Von Fischer’s road to recovery began after orthopedic surgeon Dr. Matthew Blake reconstructed his ACL.

“It’s about a six to nine-month process to get somebody from surgery back into sport,” said Dr. Blake.

“Going from crutches, first time I even left the house was to come to physical therapy, and I couldn’t even bend it at all and it was just like -- this is never going to end.

“We start by working on quad control, hamstring control, glute strength, those sorts of things. Initially it’s all about range of motion, strength, and then we gradually work into more sports-specific things and balance sorts of things which is where we’re at today,” said Ashley Hubregtse, physical therapist with Avera Medical Group Brookings.

Hubregtse says physical therapy doesn’t end at the clinic.

“It’s very important that Isaac does his exercises at home, as well as any other patient that comes to physical therapy, because even coming here two or three times a week is not necessarily enough. It’s his hard work at home that really pays off and makes for a good recovery,” said Hubregtse.

“I’m an athlete and it’s really hard not to be active. I like the routine, and I find routine in my exercises and I do them every day because I know that’s how I get back to my routine, how I get back to being an athlete. That’s the only way,” said Von Fischer.

Angela Brown is an athletic trainer at Brookings High School. She was there when Von Fischer got injured.

“When Isaac’s doing his PT at the clinic, on the off days he usually does come in here. So either before or after his team’s practice, he usually comes in and does exercises in here to just complement what he’s doing at the physical therapy clinic on the other days,” said Brown.

Von Fischer has a team of coaches rallying around him.

“Anywhere from Dr. Blake, to the physical therapist to the athletic trainer, we all have to work together to help him. And the whole team centers around helping Isaac get back to where he wants to be because it’s all patient centered,” said Hubregtse.

“I couldn’t do it with just one of these three. I need all three to get back to where I want to be. I really feel like they want me to get better. It’s their job but it also feel like they care about me,” said Von Fischer.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.