Patient Spotlight

Submitted by: The Training Room

Alyssa Stillwell's Success Story

After a season ending knee injury, MPFL (Medial Patellofemoral Ligament) reconstruction surgery, and physical therapy at The Training Room, Alyssa Stillwell was able to live out her dream and become a college athlete. We recently heard from Alyssa, who allowed us to share her inspiring story.

Due to Alyssa's hard work and perseverance, she made it
back on the field just 6 months after surgery. Check out
her journey as Alyssa teamed up with The Training Room
to get her back in the game!

Alyssa was having the time of her life. She was in Florida at the Disney Wide World of Sports playing field hockey with her travel team. They were winning and heading to the championship. During the championship game, Alyssa felt her knee cap pop out of place and down she went. She knew that this injury was going to sideline her from field hockey. When she returned from Florida and saw Dr. Paul Marchetto of Rothman Institute, he informed her that she would need surgery to fix her injury. Alyssa had suffered a Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Tear. This ligament is the stabilizing force of the patella. Without a working MPFL, the knee cap is very unstable and limits the knee from moving through rotational and change of direction activities.

At this point, Alyssa was a senior in high school and she had committed to play field hockey at Dickinson College in the fall. Alyssa was devastated. The recovery from this surgery is at least 6 months. She had to report to preseason in August. That was exactly 6 months away. She knew that if she was going to make it back, she was going to have to work hard in her rehabilitation and training.

Alyssa underwent a MPFL reconstruction on 2/28/12. She started her recovery at The Training Room the following week. Her rehab focused on gaining full range of motion of her knee and starting to strengthen her quadriceps muscle. She worked out in therapy 3 times per week to maximize her strength and mobility. As these areas began to improve, treatment shifted focus to work on Alyssa's core stability. Rachel, her physical therapist, determined that this was the main reason that Alyssa had recurring instability of her knee cap. Due to the weakness in her hips and abdominals, she was unable to stabilize her leg in a neutral position to minimize the rotational stresses on her knee cap. So as part of her recovery, she needed to work on these muscles to recover from this injury, but also to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Alyssa spent the next 4 months in physical therapy. She progressed her activity to landing, jumping, running and squatting. She returned to the surgeon in late July who allowed her to begin practicing field hockey. Alyssa spent the next 2 weeks with Velocity's Performance Director, Trae Toliver who focused on maximizing Alyssa's unilateral strength and force production with an emphasis on return to play movements especially lateral movements. Alyssa progressed very well but still had some lingering deficits when she left for preseason. She was not fully released to play at this point, but she was cleared to limit her participation in preseason drills. She focused on refining her field hockey skills and by the first week of the season she was cleared to return to full play. Alyssa went on to earn a starting position on the team as a freshman and was able to play the entire season without any knee problems.

"My knee feels better than ever! I am still working with the trainer here on rehabbing my knee to make sure that nothing ever goes wrong ever again. I am so happy that my hard work paid off so that I have this opportunity right now. I just wanted to thank you all for everything that you did for me. Without you guys, I don't know if I would be playing field hockey right now, and I will always be grateful for everything that you did for me. I can't wait to come back and visit you guys soon."

Congratulations Alyssa on this Wonderful Accomplishment!


Alyssa Stillwell Before