Recovery Creates a Second Chance for Hoop Dreams

Basketball has been Autumn’s passion since age nine. She played on the varsity team all four years of high school and looked forward to moving up to the college level. When she tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee during a district championship game, she thought her basketball career was over. But the team of orthopaedic doctors, surgeons, and rehabilitation specialists at Saint Vincent Hospital, an Allegheny Health Network facility in Erie, wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. They helped Autumn make a full recovery and get back to her hoop dreams.

When Autumn went down on the court after taking a step to guard her opponent, she applied a few ice packs and expected a quick return to her team. A week later she still wasn’t able to put pressure on her joint, and she knew she needed medical help.

Orthopaedic services at Saint Vincent Hospital

She made an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon at Saint Vincent Hospital, Dr. Mark Buseck. In addition to tearing her ACL, she had torn the meniscus on both sides of her knee. The meniscus is the wedge-shaped cartilage below the knee cap that cushions the joint upon impact.

A month later, Dr. Buseck performed surgery to repair her ACL and the meniscus on one side of her knee. He had to remove 10 percent of the meniscus on the other side, however.  For Autumn, this meant getting back to 100 percent of her original strength would be even more of a challenge.

Rebounding with rehab

The Saint Vincent Hospital rehabilitation team was determined to help Autumn return to her favorite sport. They guided her through exercises to make her knee stronger and to help her regain full range of motion. Autumn took her physical therapy very seriously and followed the team’s instructions with a strong will and a positive attitude.

“The care team was always very positive and believed that I would be back on the court in no time,” said Autumn. “At times I did not believe them. They truly do care, however, and they push you to get better and better.

Recovery is a team effort

Using the mental focus that makes her a winning athlete combined with the expertise of the Saint Vincent care team, she was back on the court within six months. Now, Autumn is living her dream and will be playing Division III basketball for the Penn State Behrend Lions — living proof that all it takes to get back in the game is a lot of determination and a winning medical team.

“Thanks to Dr. Buseck and the specially trained and caring rehab team at Saint Vincent Hospital, not only am I back on the court doing what I love, but doing it even better than I was before my accident," said Autumn.

Learn more about services at Saint Vincent Hospital and Allegheny Health Network

  • Saint Vincent Hospital
  • AHN orthopaedic services
  • AHN rehabilitation services