Personalized Care for Young Three-Sport Athlete Gets Her Back on the Court
November 26, 2018
Calling the A-Team
Marie Gluth was moving in for a layup, in the final quarter of an intense basketball game, when she felt the shove from behind, was slammed into the wall and felt a blaze of pain rip through her shoulder. It felt like my shoulder was on fire – like someone was stabbing me with a knife,” says Marie, recalling the fateful game last school year. “I felt my shoulder move out of place, and it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt.”
The Port Clinton High School sophomore was taken out of the game, which the team lost by a few points. It had been two years – and many physical therapy visits – since her shoulder was first wrenched during a defensive screen on the basketball court. A three-sport athlete, Marie’s injury was aggravated by shotput and discus during track season and tending goal on the soccer field.
Like any serious athlete who plays sports year-round, Marie was reluctant to leave the court. She feared the possibility of surgery and a lengthy recovery. Her doctors recommended physical therapy and rest, but the recurring injury had her worried. And her parents had always regretted not getting a second opinion when her older brother, Trey, broke his hand sliding onto base on the baseball diamond senior year.
Her mother found University Hospitals Sports Medicine Institute and the expert, compassionate care of James Voos, MD, team physician for the Cleveland Browns, less than an hour away in Westlake. Treating athletes from children to professionals to weekend warriors, UH has all the bases covered with a team approach and offices throughout Northeast Ohio.
“Sports medicine is a true team specialty,” says Dr. Voos. “We take the time to discuss with each athlete and their family which sports they want to play, the timing related to each season and a personalized care plan to help them meet their goals. UH Sports Medicine is a family that is invested in helping athletes and their families participate safely in sports, with true sports medicine experts devising a personalized care plan for every athlete.” Dr. Voos credits his own team, with highly trained specialists like physical therapist, Ben Geletka and physician assistant, Greg Bee for providing critical support, evaluating acute-care injuries, remaining in communication with families and ensuring that the athlete is mentally ready to return to play.
Diving, colliding, jumping, cutting and spinning are regular activities for athletes, pushing them beyond the range of typical orthopedic patients,” says Geletka. “Maintaining home exercises is critical to avoiding recurrent injury,” adds Bee.
Treatment of the athlete requires not only resolution of the implicated injury, but also education as to how they can resume their sports without sacrificing performance or putting them at increased risk of injury,” Geletka says. “Those involved in the fostering of the athlete should all be on the same page. We routinely contact the coaches and athletic trainers working with the athlete to get their input on the situation. Discussing the rehab plan with Marie’s strength coach was vital to her continued progress on a daily basis in a safe and productive manner.
Fortunately for Marie, now a junior and back in the game, her shoulder subluxation did not require surgery. But in cases where surgery is necessary, the surgical care plan is established with the sports calendar in mind.
“Surgery is not always necessary,” says Dr. Voos. “But if surgery is necessary, I customize each surgical plan to fit the patient. We need to consider any prior injuries, if the growth plates are still open in adolescent athletes, and the sports they play. My goal is to help them play sports and stay active for their entire life.”
Marie was comforted to receive care from the same medical team that provides health care for a professional sports team. Her mother was especially pleased that Dr. Voos and his team really listen to the athlete’s unique needs. Whether or not her daughter fulfills her aspirations to play sports competitively in college, Jan knows that she will continue to play sports throughout her life. As a parent, you have to be an advocate for your child,” says Jan. “My husband and I were so happy to find an expert in Dr. Voos and his staff so close to home.”
“The UH team was very focused on the athlete. They know the patient wants to get back out there, to play again. When we walked out of Dr. Voos’s office, we felt like there was hope.”