July 24, 2023

Against all Odds: Gymnast’s Remarkable Journey from Arm Injury to National Glory!

OrthoIndy News

Major injuries can have catastrophic impacts on young athletes, which is terrifying for everyone who supports their efforts. One such incident involved level 7 gymnast Mackenzie Stamper from Columbus, who shattered her right arm during her performance in January 2018. 

Mackenzie went to see a separate doctor and had her arm examined when the injury originally occurred. As the discomfort remained after she and her parents believed it to be healed, they went to OrthoIndy to visit Dr. Kayes. “It was the first time I had broken anything before,” Stamper said, “but I wasn’t worried. Dr. Kayes was very up front and honest with me.” 

Mackenzie was diagnosed with a Monteggia’s fracture of right ulna. For you trivia buffs, the Monteggia fracture is a proximal ulna fracture accompanied by radial head dislocation. Monteggia fractures can be challenging to detect, and if correct therapy isn’t put in place, profound consequences may develop. Dr. Kayes told Mackenzie she would need surgery and extensive physical rehabilitation. “Mackenzie had an uncommon, difficult fracture around the elbow that did not heal well at first,” Kayes said, “She was referred to OrthoIndy and underwent reconstruction of her elbow. It can be a devastating injury, especially for a gymnast, but she persevered, worked extremely hard, obtained all her motion back, and was able to return to gymnastics.” 

It took over 9 months, where Mackenzie had to put in lots of effort to heal the fracture, but eventually she was cleared for the gyms again. “I was really, really excited to get the all clear,” she said. “It felt like taking a giant step forward. Mom called a lot of people to tell them, and there was not a dry eye in the house.” 

But Mack’s story does not end there. She attended Nationals in July 2022 and came away with three different championships. With a score of 37.825, she won the level 7 11–12-year-old vault and bars competition, placed fifth on the beam and sixth on the floor, and won the all-around competition. Of all the level 7 gymnasts, Mackenzie had the second-best all-around score. She was among the 20 level 7 athletes selected for the national squad and given free admission to a camp in Tennessee. “I don’t know where I would be without you,” Mackenzie wrote in a thank you note to Dr. Kayes. “I do not think I would even be able to continue doing gymnastics. Hey but look! Here I am! Literally winning nationals!” 

Now a level 8 gymnast, Mackenzie has one national title under her belt and is vying for another. She has sustained other injuries, such as lower back pain, and each time she goes to OrthoIndy for treatment. “If anyone were to go through the same situation, the first thing I would tell them to do is go to OrthoIndy,” she says. “I had the best experience there, and it’s a great place to go.” 

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