Baseball player overcomes rare knee injury

Athlete's team of medical providers identified a rare injury, repaired the dislocated joint and helped him regain mobility

It was the eighth game of his senior season. Harrison Beers, a pitcher and first baseman at Mount de Sales, was already in discussions with several schools to play college baseball next year. The Cavaliers were behind Washington County by a few runs and Harrison was on second base. The batter hit a double and Harrison’s coach called him home. As he was sliding into home, the catcher blocked the plate and landed on Harrison’s leg, and he experienced a painful “crunch”. When Harrison rolled over and tried to stand up, he was unable to bend his knee.

Several people were by his side moments after, including Amanda Windon, Piedmont Orthopaedic’s athletic trainer who provides sports medicine coverage to MDS athletes. There was a prominent bulge on the outside of his knee, so Amanda took Harrison to the emergency room immediately.

The ER physician took X-rays and told Harrison it was a bone bruise, but Amanda was convinced there was something more going on. She brought Harrison to Piedmont’s walk-in Training Room for student athletes the next morning.

Harrison was unable to sleep that night. Not only was he in a lot of pain, he was distraught over the idea that he may not be able to finish his senior season.

The following day, Tee Spinks, a certified athletic trainer and Piedmont’s director of sports Medicine, reviewed the X-rays with Dr. Ryan DeCoons, one of Piedmont’s orthopaedic surgeons.  They made the diagnosis of a proximal tibiofibular dislocation, a very rare knee injury.  Given the rarity of the injury, it is often easily missed on plain x-rays.  In fact, there are only about 30 cases of acute isolated proximal tibiofibular dislocations reported in the peer-reviewed orthopaedic literature since 1974.   They obtained additional x-ray views and x-rays of the contralateral knee, confirming the diagnosis.  Dr. DeCoons explained that Harrison would require surgery and would be out of sports for at least 3 months.   

“They all talked to me and made me feel better,” Harrison said about the team of providers. “I knew I was going to come back even stronger than I was.”

The surgery was scheduled for two days later.

“I’d never had surgery before and didn’t know what to expect, but everyone at Piedmont’s Surgery Center was really nice and made it easy,” said Harrison. “They gave me something to relax, told me to take a deep breath, and that’s the last thing I remember before waking up in recovery.”

He talked to Dr. DeCoons after surgery and then was on his way home to rest – for just a bit. He was back at the ball field that same evening to watch pre-game practice and then Mount de Sales take on Tattnall Square Academy.

“It was fun being back around all of them,” said Beers. “They were surprised to see me back so soon.”

Shortly after the surgery, Harrison started therapy with Bradley Huff, a certified athletic trainer at Piedmont’s rehabilitation center, where he did strengthening and eventually agility exercises. He did additional therapy with Amanda after school.

At just 11 weeks out of surgery, Harrison feels good. “I can do pretty much everything with just a few limitations”. Harrison can’t say enough about the medical staff who worked in conjunction to help him overcome the injury.

“Dr. DeCoons is a really nice guy, and he did a lot of research on my injury because it is so rare,” said Harrison. “Bradley knows so much about rehabilitation and did a good job of teaching and coaching me.”

Amanda Windon, ATCAs for Amanda, she’s always there, for him and for his classmates. She was there when he was injured, she went with him to the ER, and she was a source of encouragement throughout the recovery.

“Everybody at Mount de Sales loves Amanda,” Harrison said. “She’s fun to be around.”

Although he couldn’t play, Harrison attended every single game for the rest of the season. The Cavaliers finished second in region for the second year in a row.

Harrison plans to attend Georgia College & State University in the fall and is already gearing up for walk-on tryouts in August.

posted 05/01/2017 in Sports Medicine

Tags: baseball player, rare injury, knee injury, proximal tibiofibular dislocation, harrison beers, orthopedic surgery, dr ryan decoons, mount de sales


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