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How Strength Training Propelled One Teen to Fast Recovery

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Kaylonna Robinson
Allison Gilmore, MD

Kaylonna Robinson, 16, is used to training hard. Since the age of 10, she’s worked closely with a personal trainer on strength training and conditioning. And her efforts have paid off – on the basketball court and through major surgery.

Last year, Kaylonna’s basketball season ended abruptly when she severely dislocated her knee, tearing a major ligament and damaging the cartilage. She had suffered dislocations before, but never as devastating.

Her pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Allison Gilmore, MD, recommended surgery to repair Kaylonna’s knee and correct a knee alignment issue, which put her at risk for continued dislocations and severe arthritis early in life.

Kaylonna underwent the six-hour surgery with Dr. Gilmore at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. After one night, she went home – a day earlier than expected. She was told that her recovery would take about a year.

“I knew this was a roadblock, but I didn’t let it stop me,” Kaylonna says.

At first, simply walking was slow and difficult. But Kaylonna worked hard in rehabilitation sessions, building strength and improving range of motion. In her free time, she went to the courts just to dribble the ball.

Kaylonna always goes the extra mile … that’s what she does,” Kaylonna’s dad, Alon Robinson, says. “She was in the weight room twice a week before the injury and kept her routine through recovery. If she couldn’t use her legs, she’d focus on upper body strength.”

After just seven months of intense work, Kaylonna was able to return to basketball at the beginning of her sophomore season – months before expected. And after just nine games, she was moved to a starting position on the varsity team.

“Kaylonna not only came back strong, she came back stronger than ever,” Mr. Robinson says. “I think it was because of her conditioning that she was able to bounce back so quickly.”

Related Links

UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital has a team of pediatric sports medicine experts dedicated to treating and preventing sports-related injuries in young athletes. Learn more at Rainbow.org/SportsMedicine

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