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UPMC Sports Medicine Patient Stories

Our team at UPMC Sports Medicine is dedicated to helping athletes and athletic individuals of all skill levels and ages. After an injury, it's easy to feel overwhelmed about treatment options, therapy, recovery times, and more.

Whether your recovery goals bring you back to a little league baseball game, marathon training regimen, or even on a recreational walk, we're here to help you every step of the way.

Hear about the impact of our care in the lives of some of our patients.

Louie Gartner, Defensive Lineman

Since his sophomore year at St. Francis University, Louie had worked with Jeff Lucchino, MS, RD, CSSD, Director of Sports Nutrition for UPMC Sports Medicine, to gain and maintain muscle as a defensive lineman. Weighing 270 pounds in March of 2019, with graduation approaching in December, Louie decided to approach Jeff about a new nutrition plan—a weight loss and healthy living journey to help guide him into this new phase of his life. They jumped right in.

“Losing this weight helped me with closure. Finishing football after playing since I was six was hard, but this helped me realize that there is another chapter of my life, and it starts right now.”

Read Louie's story. »


Kara O'Connor, Fitness Instructor

Kara O'Connor, Fitness Instructor

Kara was a collegiate swimmer, but when tendonitis in her right shoulder became increasingly painful with every stroke, it eventually ended her swimming career. Nearly 25 years later, Kara turned to UPMC Sports Medicine for an Arthroscopic Posterior Labral Repair.

“At that point, my shoulder felt even better than before I injured it. I don’t think I realized how bad it was, and how bad it was getting, over those 25 years.”

Read Kara's story. »


David Kukleski, Racquet Sports Businessman

David Kukleski, Racquet Sports Businessman

When David's active lifestyle and career took a toll on his shoulders, it resulted in one of the most common injuries in players of racquet sports: he had pushed the rotator cuffs in both of his shoulders to a point of immense pain and weakness. David turned to UPMC Sports Medicine to repair them.

“Dr. Lin literally took out a pen and drew a diagram on the exam table paper. He said, ‘This is, generically, how we need to treat you.’ I remember looking at that and thinking, ‘I’m in the right place and with the right person. I’m in good hands.'”

Read David's story. »



Ariana Camino, Soccer Player, Partial ACL Tear

Ariana Camino, Soccer Player

An injury during a basketball game left Ariana with a partial ACL tear. After surgery and physical therapy treatment at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, she was ready to return to the soccer field in the fall.

“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.”

Read Ariana's story. »



Charlie Varriano playing baseball

Charlie Varriano, Baseball Player

After experiencing soreness and achiness in his right throwing elbow, his family turned to the experts at UPMC Sports Medicine. 

“The bottom line is without UPMC Sports Medicine, none of this would be possible,” says Charlie. “Not just baseball, but my everyday life. I can play with my little cousins, go fishing, play dodge ball, and just enjoy life again without pain.”

Read Charlie's story. »



Lauren Woodring running

Lauren Woodring, Marathon Runner

Marathon runner Lauren suffered from a pelvic stress fracture, but was able to return to running after being treated at UPMC Sports Medicine.

“They truly listened to me and told me they'd do everything they could to reach my goals,” Lauren recalls.

Read Lauren's story. »



Kate Carevale playing basketball

Kate Carevale, Basketball Player

While recovering from surgery to repair a tore ACL, Kate worked with the experts at UPMC Sports Performance program to get back on the court.

“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,” Kate's father, Patrick says.

Read Kate's story. »