Dan drove straight to the Flagstaff emergency room where his x-rays showed that his leg was not broken; however,the loose feeling in his knee led him to believe there was more damage than the x-rays showed. While dreading his 11-hour drive home to Boulder, Dan was even more concerned that he would have to cancel his upcoming science television production in Iceland due to the injury. The producer of the show suggested that Dan go to The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. “He told me it was the best place in the world,” said Dan.
When Dan got back to Boulder, he began researching online and found Dr. LaPrade. “I sent him a contact form submission regarding my injury,” Dan said. “I knew famous athletes get treated at The Steadman Clinic, so I was unsure if they would see someone like me.”
Dan went to the Boulder Medical Center where he received an MRI that showed he had a complete tear of his ACL. “I was faced with a very serious decision considering that I’ll soon be flying to space. I also had a trip to Antarctica planned. I had to have my life back,” said Dan. He went to two local physicians, but still had in mind a preference to be treated by Dr. LaPrade if at all possible.
On June 1, 2016 Dan drove to Vail, Colorado to have his initial consultation with Dr. LaPrade. “Dr. LaPrade told me, ‘We can do this. We can get your knee back to 100%.’ He did not just tell me that I would kind ofhave my knee back like the other physicians that I saw. His reassuring words were all I needed.”
Due to Dan’s schedule, he had to wait several weeks for the surgery. Even though he wore a knee brace and walked as gingerly as he could, he felt his knee moving side to side when walking down inclines. In hindsight, Dan said he would not have waited so long between injury and surgery to help minimize any additional damage to the knee joint.
“After tearing your ACL, you realize that you are not the only one who has gone through this experience. You join the team and become an ambassador of sorts to be able to help and encourage others through their recovery,” said Dan.
During physical therapy, Dan focused on the minor victories of getting range of motion and strength back. The moment he felt like he had his knee back occurred three months after surgery when he performed a full squat. “I knew everything was going to be OK after that victory,” said Dan.
In October, he started doing tentative hikes around Boulder and by January of 2017, Dan was back to hiking more challenging trails. “I hiked on some loose rock terrain that made me question the state of my knee, but my knee felt great!” said Dan.
“I had a lot of positive personal growth through this experience,” said Dan. “What I appreciated the most about Dr. LaPrade’s style of care was his confidence. I knew I was going to get my life back.” When asked what he would tell other patients who have gone through a similar experience, Dan said, “Absolutely go see Dr. LaPrade. Be ready to do your part of the work following surgery. Do everything that your surgeon and physical therapist tells you to do, and push through the hard times. You can persevere!”
Dan is training to get back to flying jets and for his upcoming spaceflights
In the short term, Dan is traveling the world pursuing his hobby of birding. In the next few years, Dan will be participating in a project with the National Science Foundation in Antarctica to collect and study meteorites. In the long term, Dan will be traveling to space. “None of this would have been possible without the help of Dr. LaPrade and his team. I have my life back!”
While clinical studies support the effectiveness of these procedures, individual results may vary. There are no guarantees of outcome. All surgeries involve the risk of major complications. Before you decide on surgery, discuss treatment options with your doctor. Understanding the risks of each treatment can help you make the best decision for your individual situation. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits. Only your doctor can determine the appropriate treatment for your situation. The clinical information and opinions, including any inaccuracies expressed in this material by patients or doctor are not necessarily those of Robert LaPrade, MD and should not be considered as substitute for medical advice provided by your doctor.