He was playing quarterback, running toward the sideline, when he got hit. He felt his leg snap and the next thing that Richard Rocquemore, 17, knew was that his leg was very swollen and in a lot of pain.
“He may not be able to play any type of contact sports again -- I knew it was pretty serious,” his mom, Denise Rocquemore, recalled of that moment.
For help, Richard saw Lindsey Dietrich, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Sideline Orthopedics & Sports, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice in Arlington.
“Richard’s knee had everything wrong with it that could be wrong with the knee,” Dr. Dietrich said. “MRI scans and X-rays showed he had essentially knocked off and dislodged a piece of bone and cartilage from the end of his femur. He also had torn his ACL and torn his meniscus tissue, too. That’s a profound amount of injury on his MRI.”
While Richard may have felt like his life’s sports game was ended in that second, Dr. Dietrich, the physical therapists at Texas Health Sports Medicine, and the trainers at Athlete Training & Health all saw a next quarter for Richard. Co-located in one convenient facility in Arlington, this care team collaborated on Richard’s care each step of the way.
The first step was repair. In surgery, Dr. Dietrich reconstructed Richard’s ACL ligament using tissue from his hamstrings, and then she repaired his meniscus tissue. “Then we actually had to put him on a donor registry, where we matched his knee with a donated knee, and we repaired his cartilage defect by transplanting a portion of this donor knee into the defect in his knee,” Dr. Dietrich said. “He aced it, and we started rehab within three days.”
Richard then saw physical therapists at Texas Health Sports Medicine to improve his range of motion.
“We try to make sure we address every movement pattern we think an athlete might need to go through, to be successful in their sport. In rehab, our first goal was to get his range of motion back within the parameters that the surgeon set,” Devin Bailey, physical therapist, said.
Richard went from walking to jumping to squatting, jogging, and finally running. He was even able to start cutting back and forth -- running and turning quickly -- putting the ultimate stress on the knee he wasn’t even sure would ever work again.
When the time was right, Richard was referred to the performance training specialists at Athlete Training and Health for further conditioning to improve his speed, strength, vertical jump, side-to-side movement and more.
“We wanted to focus on making sure that leg was getting better and stronger, and stable – but that’s just one part of Richard,” explained Chris Holt, athletic performance manager with Athlete Training and Health. “We wanted to make sure that his body is balanced, from strength development, power, flexibility, mobility, to make sure his entire body was ready to be back into the game, and not just the injured site.”
Richard’s mom, Denise, was satisfied with the coordinated approach to care that the physicians, physical therapists and performance specialists offered to Richard. “I’ve been really impressed with the entire program here. And, it’s nice that it’s all in one building,” she said. “They know my son, they know what he’s dealing with.”
“We’re all on the same team,” Dr. Dietrich emphasized. “We’re working to get people back in shape and to the performance level that they would like to be at.
For Richard Rocquemore, a coordinated approach from his care team means he can get back to being a part of sports teams.
“It all was really smooth, and they all worked together and they all communicate to see what workouts will best benefit me. When I first hurt my knee, I was very down, depressed, and it really knocked me down. But through my process here, it really built me back up and it gave me a lot of confidence, confidence with my knee to go back into sports,” Richard said.