Written by John Mullen, husband of OrthoIndy patient Sarah Mullen
For Loogootee, Indiana natives, Sarah Mullen and her daughter Kallin, two-hour road trips to OrthoIndy West in Brownsburg have become fairly routine. In the past several months, the mother-daughter duo has experienced separate knee surgeries under the care of OrthoIndy sports medicine specialist, Dr. Corey Kendall.
Kallin, a freshman in high school, tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the fall of 2017 while warming up on the volleyball court before a conference match. A few months later she underwent ACL reconstruction surgery with Dr. Kendall.
ACL reconstruction surgery
Most ACL tears cannot be stitched back together, instead the ligament must be reconstructed. Your physician will replace the torn ligament with a tissue graft that acts as a foundation for a new ligament to grow on. This is done arthroscopically using small incisions, which means less pain and a faster recovery time for the patient than in the past.
Meanwhile, a little more than two months later Sarah elected to have an ACL repair surgery on a left knee that had already suffered a severe ligament tear in 1996 due to a cheerleading stunt gone wrong as well as an unsuccessful meniscectomy.
Sarah and Kallin had no earlier connection with Dr. Kendall; however, Sarah’s husband, John Mullen, roomed with Dr. Kendall in their undergraduate days at the University of Southern Indiana. With a panicked 14 year-old and a worried mother, John reminded Sarah of his college friend turned orthopedic surgeon.
“Kallin wanted to hurry up and put the injury behind her, and I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to get into OrthoIndy as fast as she would like,” said Sarah. “That was when John said, ‘don’t worry about anything; I’ll take care of it.’”
Kallin reflected, “I was really in a lot of pain and scared that I wasn’t going to get the surgery in over fall break. And I was aware that I needed that time off from school to recover. Dr. Kendall was helpful, and even though I knew he had worked on professional athletes, he treated me and my injury like it mattered just as much as anyone else’s.”
ACL surgery recovery
Kallin’s surgery went perfectly. During her ACL surgery recovery, Dr. Kendall has stated that she has met or exceeded the typical recovery requirements. Sarah seems to remember the doctor even telling Kallin that she was a rock star in his overall assessment during the continuing-therapy process.
With Kallin on her way to a strong recovery, John again reiterated to his wife that she should consider Dr. Kendall given her current situation.
“I couldn’t fulfill my daily activities as a Mom and classroom teacher because the instability of my knee made everything I did difficult,” said Sarah. “To say I was afraid that I would never get back to my quality of life was an understatement.”
Dr. Kendall performed surgery on the busy mother-of-six during the morning of December 20th and, by the next afternoon, Sarah was walking with a single crutch. “My second ACL surgery was like a night-and-day difference,” she said. “The inside of my knee felt so much better than it had in my previous surgeries.”
With Dr. Kendall’s approval and close monitoring from afar, the two have continued their physical therapy program much closer to home. As an active teenager, Kallin maintains that all she looks forward to is “getting released”. Or if not released yet, at least being able to do more physical activity with less restrictions.
Kallin, who had hoped to see varsity action on her basketball team before the injury, is upbeat that she can return to another sporting love in the spring, track and field. “I hope that I am able to get to do my desired running events and compete successfully.” With the continued progress that Kallin has exhibited, that looks more and more like an attainable goal.
Mrs. Mullen, an elementary teacher at Loogootee, is thrilled with how her knee feels to date. After enduring so much pain, she admits, “I didn’t realize how bad my knee had actually gotten. I feel like I have a new lease on life, and I am looking forward to enjoying a fuller and more active lifestyle.”
And, as her husband, John, succinctly stated: “Happy wife, happy life.”
The Mullen family feels blessed to know that the OrthoIndy staff, and especially Dr. Kendall, were so readily available when it mattered most. John remarked, “And with two more three-sport athletes currently playing in junior high, we realize that OrthoIndy is simply a phone call away should the circumstance arise.”
In fact, they feel confident in sharing and promoting their satisfaction with Dr. Kendall’s abilities in their local southern Indiana town where, occasionally, other student-athletes suffer from similar injuries. “He’s a top notch orthopedic specialist,” Sarah emphasized as Kallin chimed in, “I hope none of my friends get hurt, but if they do, I’m going to tell them to see Dr. Kendall.” Like mother, like daughter.
Dr. Corey Kendall is located at OrthoIndy West. To schedule an appointment with him please call 317.268.3634 or learn more about sports medicine treatment at OrthoIndy.