McKenna, ACL/LCL Reconstruction

Hello, my name is McKenna Dowd and currently I am a junior in High School. High school is suppose to be filled with fun and great memories, but for me I have been struggling with an ACL and LCL injury with partially tearing my meniscus. I am a three sport athlete so I actually got hurt playing soccer during softball season of high school the end of my sophomore year. I played soccer, softball, and basketball so by no means was I ready to sit on a bench watching my teammates play knowing there was nothing I could do to contribute. I say played because I chose to do track instead of softball to help get into shape and make my knee stronger after surgery.

On the date of May 10th 2015, Mother's Day, I was playing a soccer game at Deptford. Only a couple minutes into the game an opportunity came for me to get a goal. The ball was crossed, and I was able to shoot the ball into the net. Even though all of this happened, an event occurred in that process that would completely destroy my junior year of high school and my summer. As I was kicking the ball, the goalie came out of the net completely taking my legs out from under me. It felt as if my legs got trapped underneath her as my body flipped over her. After this incident, I felt a sharp and numbing pain in my right knee. After all of this and finding out what happened to me, by my doctor, Dr.Salvo, I was completely destroyed. All I wanted to know was when I would be back, better, and playing sports again. Doctor Salvo handed me tissues and began in saying that it is a year recovery and other appointments led him into saying that I would be using my patella tendon for my ACL and a cadaver for my LCL. From this point forward, I knew that I had to fight for my family, all of the doctors at Rothman and the family who gave me this amazing gift. I got my surgery on June 22, four days after school ended and close to Father's Day.

My reasoning for having my surgery over a month after my injury was because I knew that I didn't want to mess up my perfect attendance since kindergarten and Doctor Salvo wanted to keep my streak going too. This worked out better for me because I had all of summer to start my recovery process. The days after surgery were terrible. I never thought that I would have to go through so much pain in my life and I know for a fact I couldn't without my family helping me throughout the way. I lost 20 pounds, mostly muscle, and was just very miserable. Losing all this weight caused people to make comments saying how I look so unhealthy and how surgery doesn't do that. If only they knew what I was going through. On the positive side, Dr.Salvo did know what I was going through and when I sat in his office crying to him about these incidents, he said how it made him mad as a doctor and a father. A father is just what I looked at him as. He treated me like his own and I wanted to do good and improve each visit just to impress him. I just was not myself after all of this and everyone could tell. I knew that as all of my friends and family would be having fun I would have to be working on my recovery. I was never willing to accept no other choice but a year recovery and knew I had to fight for anything sooner. Without my family and Dr. Salvo always saying the right things to keep me going strong, I know for a fact that I could not get through the long process that I was forced to go through. It was an event that I would never want to go through again but now I believe I am strong enough to where if life brought me in that direction again, I could get through it and wouldn't want any other doctor to go through the process with me.

Throughout all of this, I was waiting for the good to come from the bad. I was waiting for things to get better and for something to happen where i would be able to understand that this did happen for a reason and why it had to happen to me. After a while of just being upset and anxious about getting back to my sports, I found the good. I was able to meet such great doctors that if I didn't get hurt, would have never of had the opportunity to meet. I was able to have something to fight for instead of just having things fall in my lap. I was able to reach out to my donors family that others would never have the opportunity to do. I was able to prove people wrong and show people how strong I can be when I have no other choice. I was able to get involved in a new sport that now I have found to like a lot better. I was able to work for things that I wanted. I was able to become closer with my family and realize that the unexpected could happen to anyone and does happen. I was able to sympathize with other people and their injuries and understand what they go through. I was able to appreciate what I had because in just one second it could all be taking away from you. Never did I think I would have to go through something like this but in some way I am glad that I did because I have a whole different outlook on life and that is all thanks to my supportive family, doctors, therapists, my donor and my donors family.

Each visit to Rothman was a good one. Everyone there always made me feel welcomed and not just like another patient but someone they truly cared about. I would recommend them to anyone. It is such a good feeling to know that you aren't just another patient and that you actually have people rooting for you. Once again, I couldn't get through any of this without them and am extremely thankful. Currently I am back in sports more excited than ever. I am playing summer league for basketball and summer training is right around the corner for soccer. I have a whole different outlook on my sports. Now I know that I always have to give 110 percent effort and never give up because in one second, just like before, it could all be over.

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