Myla Toole running in a race.
Sports / Orthopedic

Coordinated Care Helps Athlete Gain Strength and New Perspective Following ACL Tear

Jan 13 2021

As a promising athlete and student, it is never easy when an injury sidelines you. However, for high school athlete, Myla Toole, her injury provided her with some unexpected benefits including finding strength within herself and a passion in orthopedics.

ACL injury

In June 2019, due to an unfortunate bike accident, Myla experienced an ACL tear which required surgery.

“The first week after surgery was the toughest,” Myla shares. “It is hard to go from feeling okay to not being able to lift your leg up. I appreciated the support, but it was as mentally draining as it was physically draining. It was hard to not be part of my track and field team while I was trying to rehab.”

Physical therapy

To make it easier for Myla and her family, all of Myla’s care was coordinated through Mercy Health. Within a few days of her successful surgery at Mercy Health – Eastgate Medical Center, Myla began therapy at Mercy Health – Clermont Hospital Orthopaedics and Sports Rehabilitation, Sardinia. There she worked with Jill Lahmers, a physical therapist who also happens to be Myla’s cousin.

“Because she is my cousin, I think she was tougher on me than usual,” says Myla. “For three or four months, I went two days a week in addition to practicing my exercises at home.”

GAP post-therapy program

After her therapy, Myla was then ready to transition to the GAP program at Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital.

The Mercy Health GAP (goals, achievement and performance) program offers independent, individual or group exercise sessions aimed to restore full functionality in a specific sport, activity or work role. For Myla, the Mercy Health team created an individualized program designed to help her get ready for sports and prevent future injury as she transitioned from formal physical therapy.

While in the GAP program, Myla worked with Rocky Tekulve.

“Rocky really pushed me,” Myla says. “He would ask about my goals and what it was like before I tore my ACL. He wanted me to be able to perform at my usual level, not just get better.”

During her GAP sessions, Myla’s care team focused on agility and speed. In between sessions, Myla would perform strength workouts so that the GAP sessions could be optimized and monitored for sport specific movements.

“They always had my best interests in mind. They knew I wanted to run but Rocky focused on also making sure that I wasn’t going to tear my ACL again. He transitioned me perfectly.”

Returning to sports

After months of hard work, Myla was ready to play sports again and participate in her school’s track team.

“I feel really good about it.  Now I have more strength and muscle mass. My knee is a lot stronger than before.”

However, Myla experienced another unexpected roadblock when the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled her track season. As a result, Myla decided to try cross-country, a sport she always wanted to try.

It has proven to be a sport she excels in. Myla finished 35th in the 2020 Ohio State Cross Country meet. This achievement was even more special considering it was her first year of competitive cross-country running.

“It was really exciting and in a year like this, it was extra difficult with COVID-19,” Myla shares.

Care team support

Even though she is finished with her rehabilitation, Myla’s therapy team continues to support her.

“I know they would help me out if I ever needed it,” Myla mentions. “Jill, my physical therapist and cousin, came to the meet and it was really nice having her there. Afterwards, I texted Rocky and gave him an update.”

As for our Mercy Health therapy team members, it is nice to hear the success stories of their patients who worked so diligently on their recovery.

“Myla was a pleasure to work with – she set realistic goals and conquered them one by one with a positive attitude, determination, and dedication to succeed. It is very rewarding to witness young athletes overcome circumstances that are beyond their control – I am very proud of her and her achievements,” shares Jill.

Lessons learned

Myla is hoping to get back on the track soon and the future looks promising. Her experiences not only provided her with renewed physical strength but a possible future career.

“I do think that I want to do something in the orthopedics world,” Myla says. “With everything that I went through, I think it is something that I would enjoy. I learned so much about the structure of the body and found it very surprising and interesting.”

While her journey to recovery was long, Myla learned valuable lessons and now feels that she has new lifelong knowledge and a support network.

“I learned patience. When you find out you have an ACL tear, you think oh my gosh, what am I going to do?  I do still love running but there is more to it than the sport. I have a great relationship with my doctors, the therapists and so many more resources. Looking back at my recovery, I wouldn’t be where I am today without it happening. I wouldn’t have appreciated or pushed myself this far.”

Mercy Health – Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is conveniently located throughout Cincinnati. We offer same/day next day appointments as well as extended hours at the Anderson and Fairfield locations. 

Call 513-347-9999 or schedule an appointment online today.

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