Because of my orthopaedic care I can participate in sports at school.
Excerpts from Will’s story as shared by the Campbell Foundation:
Gena Wolbrecht’s memory of the Sunday afternoon her son Will was seriously injured is sharp, despite the fear and panic she felt at the time.
Gena recalls her husband Ric rushing into the house from the backyard, carrying Will and saying he thought their son’s leg was broken. She remembers Will’s face, brave and solemn, with no tears. When Ric removed Will’s pants, she saw the enormous swelling under the skin. As Ric put his hands under the boy’s thigh, Gena remembers the leg “shook like jelly,” as if the bone had disappeared.
When Will Wolbrecht fell from the double-seated glider he was standing on in the backyard of his Germantown home, the femur in his left leg splintered as it broke.
Dr. Terry Canale, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, directed Will’s case. In the initial surgery, he and Dr. James Beaty worked to implant titanium rods on both sides of Will’s femur. However, one side of the splintered bone chipped each time surgeons attempted to attach the rod. Their best recourse was to allow the bone on that side to grow back on its own.
Will returned home in a full body cast. Gena, West Tennessee financial sales director with Regions Bank, homeschooled Will using curriculum from St. Louis School, where Will had been attending kindergarten.
Jeni Grace, Will’s younger sister, helped Gena and Ric keep Will comfortable and entertained.
The weight of Will’s body cast, combined with his weight, made moving him difficult. Friends drove Jeni
Grace to school. “We pretty much stayed home for three months, except visits to the doctor’s office,” Gena said. “It was a challenge.”
The skill of his medical team, combined with Will and his family’s determination to follow the treatment plan prescribed for him, led to a successful recovery.
Will attended his kindergarten graduation ceremonies at St. Louis School in a reclining wheelchair. Near the end of May, after a third surgery on Will’s leg, doctors replaced the full body cast with a “bikini” cast. When that cast was removed at the end of June, Will used a walker for a month.
Throughout the summer, physical therapist Lisa Jain helped Will regain strength and muscle tone. “He had to re-learn how to hop, skip, walk and run all over again,” Gena said. “Our goal all summer was to have him strong enough to start first grade with his friends.”
Since returning to school in August as a first grader, Will has been able to participate fully in school life. He’s a good student, excelling at spelling. His favorite class is gym.
This spring, Will plans to play on one of the school’s basketball teams. The Wolbrechts are determined to let Will participate in the activities that interest him, just as he would have before the accident.