Because of my orthopaedic care, I can do almost everything I was able to do before the accident.
On June 9th, 2009, I was involved in a high-speed vehicle pursuit while employed as a police lieutenant by the city ofPittsburgh. The pursuit ended when the actor struck me with his Lincoln Navigator, and crashed into my police car pinning me between the vehicles. He then accelerated and twisted my body violently until something on the S.U.V. grabbed my legs and tossed me eight to ten feet in the air. I landed on the roof of my car and bounced off to the cold, wet pavement. The navigator crashed head-on into another police car and was disabled so badly that it could not be driven further. I instantly realized that I could not move my left leg, and then I started to taste the blood and feel the rest of my injuries. I was not sure that I would survive.
The events of that day changed my life for ever. UPMC and Dr. Christopher Harner restored the lion’s share of what was taken from me. Things started to change from the minute I entered the trauma unit at UPMC Mercy. The staff worked methodically to stabilize me and to treat my wounds. Dr. Ravazo took over from there, and repaired my patellar tendon. After the surgery, he explained the extent of the damage, and referred me to Dr. Christopher Harner.
Losing the use of my left leg was a tremendous psychological strain. I went from highly active life style to a hospital bed that I could not get out of without assistance. The best I thought I could hope for was a walker, a wheel chair, and crutches. Dr. Harner and his staff changed that for me. His surgical genius combined with precisely timed physical therapy at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services allowed me to not only walk again, but to return to full duty within 15 months of my injury.
To qualify for full duty status, I was required to run uphill for 12 minutes on a treadmill, and then, during firearms qualification, I was required to walk briskly, kneel on my right knee, pivot left, right and 180 degrees to the rear, while engaging targets with my Glock pistol and M-4 rifle. Two weeks later, I completed my Hazardous Materials Team recertification, in which I was required to ascend a four story fire escape ladder, and then descend four flights of stairs while wearing my level-A protective suit, SCBA mask, and air bottle.
13 months have passed since Dr. Harner reconstructed my ACL, and I am able to do many of the things I did before my injuries. I am walking well over a mile, as many as five times a week, and recently jogged a couple hundred yards. My leg is growing stronger every day and I am experiencing less pain, so I plan to return to mountain biking on the Montour trail. I am able to push my lawn mower, operate my chain saw, split fire wood and climb in my tree stand. In two weeks I will go on a Russian boar hunt with my bow and arrows, and then I will be off toSaskatchewanfor an archery-only black bear hunt.
The things I once took for granted are all little gifts made possible by the care I received from Dr Christopher Harner at UPMC Sports Medicine. I am forever grateful for having my life restored.
Getting Back in the Game: Understanding the Impacts of Treatment Options for ACL Tears
Ortho-Pinion: You Have an ACL Tear – What’s Next?
For more information on ACL injuries, click here