Surfer Shatters Her Knee but Refuses to let it Shatter her Hobby

June 13th, 2011

People associate a vacation to Puerto Rico with sun, fun and relaxation. But for surfer and surf shop owner Susan Laielli, of Brigantine, NJ, this beautiful family getaway never got off the ground.

"My family and I were at the airport getting ready to leave," says Laielli, who owns Primal Surf Shop in Brigantine, NJ, with her husband.

"It was dark out, and I accidently slipped on a patch of black ice and landed on my knee, shattering it and severing several tendons."

Fearful that she might never surf again, Laielli sought out Alvin Ong, M.D., a hip and knee surgeon at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute. At first, he wasn't sure that she would ever surf again.

"Dr. Ong used screws to put my knee back together and repaired my tendons," says Laielli.

"Following surgery, I went through about two years of physical therapy. Dr. Ong was a great physician and he never babied me – he encouraged me to try not limping so I would heal faster."

Today, four years after her accident, Laielli is back on the surf board and has resumed surfing trips with her husband and two children. She says her entire experience at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute was positive.

"The hardest part was the physical therapy," she says. "But I always did everything I was told to and I was able to successfully heal."

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