How My Journey lead to Dr. LaPrade for a Knee Examination
“As a professional executive overseeing the operations of renewable energy contracts, I was working long hours,” said Jason Smith. “Every Monday morning, I commuted three hours to our company headquarters where I lived in corporate housing and remained on site until the end of the work week. While the job was demanding and I enjoyed it, working out and staying active remained a constant priority.”
That is, until December 19th, 2017 came along.
Jason was playing indoor soccer with a group of collegues and jumped over a player coming toward him. He landed awkwardly on his left leg and heard a “pop” in his knee, felt pain and hit the ground hard. He tried to put some weight on his knee, but he quickly realized there was zero stability. After being helped off the field, Jason could barely feel the front of his lower leg.
This led to a lengthy series of orthopedic consultations with several doctors. After pushing them for more detail and questions about his injury, Jason was eventually referred to Dr. LaPrade for a knee examination.
Posterolateral Corner with an ACL Tear
“Dr. LaPrade diagnosed my injury as a posterolateral corner with an ACL tear.” Jason’s injury included grade III tears of the Anterior Crucial Ligament, FCL (LCL) the popliteous tendon popliteofibular ligament and an avulsed bicep hamstring from the fibular head, mild peroneal nerve neurapraxia (motor and sensory), a small radial tear to the meniscus and a fractured tibial plateau. “He was direct about the procedure, the recovery and the seriousness of my injury. Based on our discussion, I made the decision to reconstruct my left knee and work with the man who invented the procedure.”
And like any patient, Jason had concerns pre-surgery. Before he tore up his knee, Jason was hiking, backpacking, climbing, riding bike long distances and crossfitting 4-5 times a week. “My biggest fear was not being able to return to this level of activity or intensity because it was my stress relief outlet.”
Although Jason’s concerns were legitimate, his life post-surgery continues to be such an inspiring story. According to Jason, “after two weeks of rehab, I made the decision that as a goal to keep me on track to work hard at recovery one year later, I would climb one of the largest summits in the world.” Dr. LaPrade signed off on Jason’s climbing expedition provided he continued with the rehab protocol.
My Recovery was the most Important thing in the World
“Life has a way of slowing you down,” said Jason. “For the first time since I was a child, I was dependent on someone else. I couldn’t walk or drive for 8 weeks.”
12 months later, true to his goal, Jason left for Mendoza, Argentina to begin his 20-day expedition to summit Aconcagua, which is 22,841 feet high. During the hike, he was able to carry between 40-60 pounds.
“I felt strong, stable and was able to summit the mountain. Without Dr. LaPrade and his team, I would never have been able to achieve my long-standing goal of reaching one of the seven summits and the tallest mountain outside the Himalayas! He cares about the perspective of the patient and made me feel like my recovery was most important thing in the world.”
Today, Jason no longer travels for work. In fact, he is entertaining opportunities that allow him to be closer to home. “These days, I relish being around my fiancée, children and dogs. Of course, I am already thinking about my next big expedition!”