Texans have football; Minnesotans have hockey and Hoosiers have basketball.
Every year, Hoosier hysteria sweeps the state as we cheer on our favorite high school, college and professional teams. As an orthopedic provider for a number of local teams, OrthoIndy is always on the sidelines cheering on athletes and taking care of them when they are injured. OrthoIndy is the official orthopedic provider for Indiana’s two professional basketball teams: the Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Fever.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2011, nearly 1.5 million basketball injuries in children and adults were reported. Basketball is a fast-paced action sport, putting its athletes at risk for a number of injuries, most commonly to the foot, ankle or knee.
Some of the most common injuries include:
- ligament tears
- jammed fingers
- stress fractures in the foot and lower leg
With the wide range of bone, joint and muscle injuries, it’s important to have an orthopedic sports medicine physician available to diagnose and treat the injury.
OrthoIndy has been an orthopedic provider for the Indiana Fever for years, providing bone, joint, spine and muscle care for its athletes. Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Stephen Kollias, has personally taken care of the team for the past ten years.
Unfortunately, many members of the Fever have sustained a number of injuries over the years; but luckily, Dr. Kollias was there to help get the women back onto the court.
Point guard, Briann January and forward, Tamika Catchings, are both exceptional athletes on and off the court. As leaders of the team, both women have endured the hardships of overcoming an injury to return to what they love: basketball.
Tamika has been a frequent name on the injury list over the years. She’s suffered and persevered through a number of injuries during her career, starting with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in college. When her teammate, Briann injured her ACL, Tamika was there to help her through her recovery.
According to the Amercian Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an ACL sprain or tear is one of the most common knee injuries. ACL injuries are common among athletes in high intensity sports, such as football, soccer and basketball.
The ACL can be injured in several ways, including:
- changing direction rapidly
- slowing down while running, stopping suddenly
- landing from a jump
- direct contact or collision.
In Briann’s case, she was just back peddling down the court.
“There’s no exciting story,” said Briann when describing how she injured her knee. “I was back peddling down the court, planted and felt something happen that shouldn’t happen in my knee.”
The most common symptoms of an ACL injury is a “popping” noise or feeling as if the knee is “giving out.” Additional symptoms may include: pain with swelling, loss of full range motion, tenderness or discomfort.
When Briann felt a pop in her knee, Dr. Kollias was there to diagnose Briann’s injury and start treatment immediately.
“After Briann was injured, I evaluated her in the training room and started her rehab within minutes of her injury,” said Dr. Kollias. “I performed an ACL repair surgery four weeks later.”
While Briann had an orthopedic surgeon close by when she injured her knee, most people aren’t so lucky. If you have injured your knee, it’s important to consult an orthopedic specialist rather than visiting a primary care physician. The orthopedic physician is specialty trained and will evaluate the structures of your knee and compare them to your non-injured knee. Imaging tests may be ordered, such as an X-ray or MRI to confirm the diagnosis.
After the first consultation, the orthopedic surgeon may begin rehab prior to surgery, like in Briann’s case. “To treat an ACL injury, I begin rehab immediately,” said Dr. Kollias. “ Once the patient gets back motion and the swelling is reduced, I will then perform surgery usually in four to six weeks.”
An orthopedic surgeon will discuss which graft is the right choice for the patient.
Unfortunately, a number of Fever players have sustained ACL injuries and undergone surgery; however, their experience was helpful in Briann’s rehabilitation. Tamika’s experience and support was vital to a full recovery for Briann.
“Our team is amazing,” Briann said. “Luckily for me, there were a few players on the team that have gone through an ACL repair before. Tamika was huge in my recovery. Being able to talk to her and the others about their experiences so I knew what to expect. They told me when I would be making gains, when things would be tough and what I needed to do to maintain and to make it through coming out of an ACL repair.”
While Tamika tore her ACL early on in her career, a few years ago Dr. Kollias had to repair a medial and lateral meniscus tear in her knee. With another injury, Tamika said it wasn’t just the physical pain an athlete has to endure. “From a mental aspect you just get frustrated,” she said. “I think I went through that point where I was like, ‘enough already’.”
The team members’ support has been instrumental in overcoming each teammate’s injury. Both women are thankful to have Dr. Kollias as the team physician.
“Dr. Kollias and I have a good relationship,” she said. “He’s awesome. He was everything in my recovery, from being there, giving me the information I needed through the whole process and taking care of me through the surgery, which he did perfectly because I had no issues coming back. Or some days when I was down and I would go in and see him, he would lighten the mood and give me a big bear hug. He was there for me throughout the whole process.”
Tamika appreciates Dr. Kollias’s personality and positivity. “For me I get excited when I see him and the big hugs that he gives, said Tamika.
“When you are frustrated and think ‘what’s next?’ he always has something positive to say.”
In addition to seeing Dr. Kollias on the court, Tamika and Briann became very familiar with OrthoIndy through all their visits and check-ups.
“It’s like everyone knows us at OrthoIndy for as much as we went in with all the injuries and check ups,” said Tamika. “Everybody is always so nice and so welcoming. Whether it’s us, or anyone else that goes in, you see the same amount of respect.”
As a professional athlete, an injury can be a career changer. Both Tamika and Briann have overcome their injuries, which is evident by their outstanding performances on the court.
“Going through any injury is life changing and for me it made me stronger,” said Briann. “Being able to have OrthoIndy there supporting me through the whole thing and taking care of me, providing the best experience; is huge in where I am today.”
OrthoIndy and Dr. Kollias are proud to be a part of the Indiana Fever team. Dr. Kollias says, “My favorite part about being the team doc for the Indiana Fever is working with a great group of professional athletes with great humility. They are always willing to do great things in the community by giving their time. These are athletes and people you would want your children to emulate.”
Briann and Tamika also consider OrthoIndy and Dr. Kollias members of the Indiana Fever.
“You always talk about how it takes a team to build a dream, for both of us having the opportunity to go through that and be with OrthoIndy, they are part of our team now,” said Tamika. “Going in when you first get hurt all the emotions you go through, physical, mental, you come out stronger, come out with a bigger team. Because different people did different things to help us get where we are at today. To be successful and to be able to fulfill our dreams; OrthoIndy is a part of helping us build our team.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kollias, please call 317.802.2817 or learn more about sports medicine treatment options at OrthoIndy.