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Shelby, a senior and longtime softball player at Trinity High School, had been experiencing pain in her elbow for quite some time when she decided to seek physical therapy at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services’ North Strabane location.
She was being treated by Craig Doman, PT, for physical therapy on her dislocated elbow when he discovered another more serious injury.
Craig recommended she see a UPMC Sports Medicine physician to evaluate her elbow. She soon learned that she had a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and underwent a procedure known as Tommy John surgery by Mark Baratz, MD.
Following surgery, Shelby suffered from nerve damage in her pinky and ring fingers as a result of her elbow injury which caused her to lose feeling in her fingers and severely limited the use of her hand. After some time in therapy, it was determined that the best course of action was a second surgery to repair the damaged nerves.
Shelby underwent her second procedure in June 2014. She continued occupational therapy for her hand until February 2015. She and her therapists worked on strengthening her hand by using tools such as exercise putty, rubber bands and clips to regain full use of her fingers.
After nearly nine months of therapy and rehabilitation, Shelby regained feeling in her fingers and was able to return to softball in March, just as the season was beginning.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect to be able to play at all my senior year,” said Shelby. “Going through something like this, where you’re thinking that you can’t do the thing you love anymore, is really hard. It was a really big accomplishment for me to recover from my injury in time to play during my senior year.”
Her recovery from her injury was a long and trying road and she gives credit to the team at CRS North Strabane for sticking by her side and getting her through.
“I have gone to many other therapists over the years and I always hated it,” said Shelby. “But my experience with UPMC Centers for Rehab Services was different from any of my past experiences. I absolutely loved my time with them. My therapists became like family to me. Through my hardest times they were there. When I wanted to give up, they encouraged me. They really got me through it and I’m very grateful to them. I highly recommend CRS to anyone who needs it.”
Shelby rounded out her last season at Trinity with a trip to the state championship where they placed second out of 600 schools. She is pain-free and ready to start her next chapter at cosmetology school.