January 22, 2018

After knee surgery, athlete returns to softball

Knee | Patient Stories | Sports Injury


We have all heard the cringe worthy story of an athlete tearing his or her meniscus, ACL or MCL and being out for the rest of the season. Even though we know it’s common, every time it happens, it’s just as devastating as the story before. For Kiara Carson, this was her reality her freshman year of high school.

During volleyball practice Kiara was learning a new technique for hitting at an angle when her coach accidentally threw the ball out of Kiara’s reach. In a desperate attempt to reach the ball, Kiara landed awkwardly and hyperextended her knee.

Lucky for Kiara, her mom Loretta knew exactly where to take her. Loretta is a workers’ compensation nurse case manager and works with OrthoIndy often. She decided to make an appointment for Kiara with Dr. Chris Bales, OrthoIndy sports medicine specialist.

For Kiara, volleyball was a fun sport to play, but softball was her passion. Getting an injury at the beginning of her freshman year, put her at risk for missing softball tryouts.

“When my mom and I first met with Dr. Bales, he was so nice and very gentle when examining my knee,” said Kiara. “I was in a lot of pain and was on an emotional roller coaster because I wanted to get back on the softball field as soon as possible. When he told me I may be back on the field in time to try out for the high school team, I was thrilled and knew that I wanted him to be my surgeon.”

The diagnosis-torn ACL and partially torn MCL

Dr. Bales determined that Kiara had completely torn her ACL and partially tore her MCL. Kiara would need surgery if she wanted to continue playing sports.

“In younger, competitive athletes with ACL tears I recommend surgical treatment to stabilize the knee. The surgery is just a small part of the overall recovery,” said Dr. Bales. “Rehabilitation is a long process for athletes and typically it is a full year before they are back to competitive sports. The physical rehabilitation from the injury is difficult but the mental aspect is just as important and Kiara was dedicated to her therapy and made a great recovery.”

Knee surgery recovery

It’s now been four years since Kiara had surgery. Not only did she make the softball team, she currently plays softball at the college level.

“I am very pleased with how my knee surgery recovery went and even four years post-op, 99 percent of the time, I feel as if I never even had surgery,” said Kiara.

Now, Kiara is studying to become a nurse. After she graduates she wants to help other orthopedic patients after surgery.

“One million and one thank yous to Dr. Bales,” said Kiara. “When I thought my softball career was over, you helped me get back to doing what I love doing. I could never thank you enough for fixing my knee.”

As for Loretta, she was so pleased with the care her daughter received that she continues to refer Dr. Bales to others.

“It is hard to watch your child be in pain, but I knew she was in good hands,” said Loretta. “Dr. Bales provided a great balance between focusing on the best treatment for the patient and incorporating her desire to return to softball. He did not disregard her. This allowed her to trust him with not only her knee, but her future. I would recommend him to anyone, and in fact, have also taken my husband to see him.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Bales please call 317.268.3695 or learn more about sports medicine treatment at OrthoIndy.
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