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Kate’s Story: Sports Performance Training After ACL Surgery

Image of Kate Carnevale

Kate knew immediately that something was wrong with her knee. The 13-year-old star player on Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy basketball team tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on a non-contact play during a game in February of 2013. Several years of knee strength imbalance and instability had finally caught up to her.

She and her family evaluated all of their options and ultimately decided that, after a few months’ rest, ACL surgery gave Kate the best opportunity for a positive outcome. Surgery was performed by James Bradley, MD, in June 2013. To help regain movement in her knee, Kate went on to complete an outpatient rehabilitation program.

UPMC Sports Performance Program

Wanting to ensure that their daughter was 100% ready and prepared to return to the court at full-strength, Kate’s parents Patrick and Nancy received several recommendations to visit the UPMC Sports Performance Program, led by director Ron DeAngelo, ATC, LAT, CSCS. During her initial phone call with Ron, Nancy knew she had called the right place.

“Right away when I talked to Ron, I immediately felt comfortable with him. He devised a solid, aggressive, yet manageable plan to get her back to playing basketball again.” — Nancy, Kate's mom

Kate began working with Ron and his colleague, certified strength and conditioning specialist Lily Feldman, in January of 2014. Three days a week, two hours per day, they followed a customized program to correct her knee imbalance, improve agility, and increase strength. Kate’s tenacity, work ethic, and desire to succeed were evident from day one.

Return to Play

In July of 2014, Kate was officially released and allowed to return to play – stronger, faster, and in overall better shape than even before her ACL surgery. Throughout the entire challenging process, Kate and her parents were thoroughly impressed with Ron, Lily, and the staff at UPMC Sports Medicine.

“Words cannot describe how thankful we are to Ron, Lily, and the UPMC Sports Performance Program,” Patrick says. “They have really impacted our daughter’s life in a positive way, both as an athlete and a person. We heartily recommend UPMC Sports Medicine and the sports performance program without hesitation.”

Looking Ahead

The future is bright for Kate. Gifted with speed, she recently joined the track team at Shady Side Academy, in addition to continuing with her first love of basketball. Kate aspires to play professional basketball and continues to train with the UPMC Sports Performance Program to help maintain her strength, endurance, quickness, and overall physical fitness.