This post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief
In March 2017, 15-year-old Madison Grismer was at an open gym at a local gymnastics center. Madison is a determined gymnast, so she was working on perfecting her round-off back handspring, back tuck.
Unfortunately, when Madison completed the back handspring, she rebounded too hard. This caused her legs to go over her head and Madison landed straight on her neck. Immediately, Madison felt pain and stiffness in her neck and shoulders.
Madison’s mother Candice knew just where to take her after her injury.
“In 2014 my dad had an accident at work. He received great care at OrthoIndy,” said Madison. “Any time we have a bone or muscle related injury we come to the urgent care clinic at OrthoIndy South. My mom brought me into the clinic after my fall to have my neck checked out.”
After Madison had her X-rays she met with Dr. Greg Poulter, OrthoIndy spine surgeon. Dr. Poulter determined that Madison needed an immediate MRI, followed by a CT scan to assess the severity of her injury.
Dr. Poulter determined that Madison had torn her ligaments between her C6 and C7 vertebrae, which required a cervical fusion also known as neck surgery. During a cervical fusion the affected vertebrae are fused together so that they heal as a single, solid bone.
“I was on strict restrictions including a hard collar brace until surgery,” said Madison. “After surgery, I was allowed to be mobile without the brace, but I could not do activities that required a certain amount of neck movement.”
For Madison, that meant not participating in physical education during school and no gymnastics. After three months, she was able to do more physical activity, but there were still limitations. Madison was able to stunt with her cheerleading team, but was unable to tumble.
“The fusion of cervical vertebrae takes three months to occur and will continue to strengthen for years after the surgery,” said Dr. Poulter.
Neck surgery recovery
After four weeks of physical therapy, Madison was released for full activity in September, less than six months after surgery. She plans to immediately return to tumbling for cheerleading.
“Dr. Poulter did a phenomenal job with Madison. He made sure we were informed and knew any and all potential outcomes,” said Candice. “Madison let him know that she had very intention of returning to cheer and though he was hesitant because of the severity of her injury, he was very supportive.”
Dr. Poulter was determined to get Madison back to her regular teenage life.
“Madison had an injury that could have been devastating. To be a part of her recovery to return to life as a normal high schooler is the most rewarding part of my job,” said Dr. Poulter.
Madison’s mom Candice is proud of her daughter’s willpower and grateful for Dr. Poulter’s help.
“I think the best part of the situation is that she didn’t change. She is still the outgoing, invincible teenager. She was determined to get through this and she did it with flying colors,” said Candice. “I am so thankful that God put Dr. Poulter on our team and did such an amazing job with my baby girl.”
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