A Life-Changing Experience
In January, 2010, I went to Mount Hood Meadows to teach a friend to snowboard. After showing him the ropes most of the day, I decided to do a run by myself. I did a jump that I’ve done a thousand times - but I didn’t give it the respect it deserved. I’d locked my right knee, so when I hit the ground, it hyperextended and I dislocated my femur.
I knew something was wrong instantly.
Ski patrol took me to urgent care, where they reset the bone and gave me pain medication, but they said I needed to go to OHSU right away and sent me there in an ambulance. At OHSU, I learned that in addition to peroneal nerve damage, I had torn my right knee’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
About a month later, Dr. Crawford and his team performed knee surgery to fix my ACL, LCL and PCL all at once. It was a four-and a-half-hour process; they used the Achilles tendon from a cadaver to replace the torn ligaments; they then fastened them with screws. I had the utmost confidence in Dr. Crawford. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was honest, straightforward and answered all my questions. I appreciated his no-nonsense style of communication.
I had about six months of physical therapy to help rehabilitate my knee. All the therapists were really nice and knowledgeable. Initially we did e-stimulation therapy to help my quadriceps contract around the reconstructed knee area, and then we worked on bending my knee, a little at a time. It was a slow process. Months later, I was able to get on a bike, and I quickly got into road and mountain biking. In early 2012, I had another surgery to have the screws removed. I was about at 90 percent of my pre-injury functionality at that time. After that surgery, I was only off my feet for about a month.
Now, I’m basically where I was before I had my accident. I can even sit on my knees and kneel so my butt touches my feet; I never thought I would be able to do that. I’m competing in a triathlon next month. I’m ecstatic about how well things are going.
I’ve always been athletic, and so a catastrophic injury like this messed with my head as well as my body. I didn’t know who I would be if I couldn’t be as active as I always had been. Before my surgery, Dr. Crawford had told me there was a 60 percent chance I’d never run again, and a 90 percent chance I wouldn’t even walk normally. If my knee injury were just a fraction worse, surgery wouldn’t have even been a possibility.
I don’t think there is another doctor in the U.S. who could have restored my knee joint and physical ability to this degree. Dr. Crawford and his team changed my life.