Claire Martin, an 18-year-old from Orland Park, has been playing volleyball for many years and recently joined the Vikings women’s volleyball team at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. Volleyball has always been her passion and is the only sport she has ever played competitively.
However, when Claire was a sophomore at Mother McAuley High School in Chicago, IL, she endured a triple threat which endangered her dream to play at the college level: a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), injured medial collateral ligament (MCL) and damaged meniscus – all in the same knee. ACL tears are one of the most common knee injuries, with more than 200,000 ACL tears occurring in the U.S. annually. The ACL is crucial when playing sports because it stabilizes the knee when turning or planting.
The injury happened during a game when Claire jumped and landed on another player’s foot. After hearing a ‘pop’ and feeling what she describes as, “the worst pain I have ever experienced,” she knew that there was a major problem.
Immediately after she sustained the injury, Claire sought help from Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush. Shortly after the diagnosis, Claire underwent surgery to repair the three damaged components of her knee. The surgery was a success and Dr. Bush-Joseph guided Claire toward her recovery.
During rehabilitation, it was difficult for her to not be playing the sport that she loves, but she supported her team by attending every game and cheering them on from the sideline.
Once fully healed, Claire was eager to return to the court but was a little more tentative and fearful of hurting her knee again. She is now more aware of the importance of ACL injury prevention and is enjoying playing volleyball at the collegiate level. She says that her knee is back to 100 percent and it, “feels better and stronger now than before the injury.”