During a basketball game her freshman year of high school, Ariana awkwardly planted her foot and fell to the floor.
“There was a loud pop and I knew automatically it wasn’t right. I had never felt that in my life,” she said.
Two days after her injury, Ariana’s parents scheduled an appointment at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. During her appointment, Ariana met with a primary care sports medicine doctor, had an MRI on her knee, and was able to be seen by orthopaedic surgeon, Volker Musahl, MD, who diagnosed her with a partial ACL tear.
“UPMC was great; it all fell in to place that day. She got her MRI and it just happened to be that Dr. Musahl was there and saw her,” said Ariana’s mother, Tania. "It was amazing and a blessing because he was there and able to fit her in.”
Prior to surgery, Dr. Musahl worked with Ariana’s physical therapist to develop a comprehensive recovery plan so that she would be able to return to playing soccer — her primary sport — in the fall.
“She started physical therapy right away, before surgery. They did that because they didn’t want Ariana’s quad muscles to weaken from non-use of the leg. They worked on all of the muscles around the knee and ACL,” Tania said.v
Immediately following surgery, Ariana began physical therapy close to home and was given a traction machine to help slowly bend her knee. Her knee also was stabilized with a brace and she was restricted to walking with crutches for about two months. After the first few weeks, Ariana continued her physical therapy at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, under the care of Andrew Lynch, PT, PhD.
She met with Andrew early in the morning three times a week and worked on regaining strength, including jumping and sudden movements, so that she would be ready for soccer season. Nine months after surgery, Ariana had regained strength in her knee and the confidence to play on the field again.
“I feel really good. It’s not that I was hurting, I just had to get used to my knee. I have gotten used to it and gotten my confidence back to play again.”