Aaron days before his knee injuries.
The Day Everything Changed
September 15th, 2017 was day that forever changed the life and trajectory of Aaron Holdridge. He was playing his first home football game as a senior linebacker in high school. As he jumped to block a pass from the quarterback, another player simultaneously collided with his leg as he landed and dislocated his knee.Dr. Justin Newman along with the opposing team’s doctor, Dr. Blake Daney, immediately ran on the field to check Aaron’s injury. Dr. Newman told his mother, “Don’t come out.
Dr. Newman, who trained under Dr. LaPrade, assessed Aaron’s dislocated knee and immediately reduced and immobilized his knee, which would later prove to be an instrumental medical decision. Aaron was then taken to the local hospital for observation.
Three hours later, Dr. Newman was examining the status of Aaron’s leg and told his mother Kim,
“This is pretty serious. Aaron has a severed artery in his leg, no pulse in his foot and needs to be airlifted to another hospital.”
The other doctors in the hospital initially told Kim there was an 85% chance Aaron would lose his leg. What exactly did Dr. LaPrade teach Dr. Newman that other orthopedic surgeons didn’t know? Kim said,
“Dr. Newman knew what he was looking for and what to do on the field and that’s why my son has his leg today. We believe it was a fingerprint of god.”
My Meeting with Dr. LaPrade
On November 8th, 2017, Aaron and his family went to see Dr. LaPrade. After personally doing all the x-rays himself and talking with Aaron and his family about his injury. Dr. LaPrade told them,
“If it was my kid, I would do the surgery tomorrow.”
Before seeing Dr. LaPrade, Kim recalls walking into his office building and a man coming up to her and said,
“Do you remember me? I was on the football field when Aaron got hurt and have been following your story.”
The man who rushed onto the field to examine Aaron’s injury along with Dr. Justin Newman was none other than Blake Daney, the opposing team’s trainer, who was coincidentally doing his fellowship under Dr. LaPrade. The following day, on November 9th, 2017, Aaron had surgery. Dr. LaPrade performed a round of surgeries at once that included operations on his ACL, PCL, LCL and Posterolateral Corner.
The Long Road Ahead
This began an extremely long road ahead that is hard to even comprehend as these words are being written. Here are a few statistics to put his journey to recovery in perspective:
- Aaron was told he would be in intensive care for 7-8 weeks, but he was determined to leave the hospital as quickly as possible.
- He went to physical therapy to rehab his leg 5 days a week for 13 straight months totaling 265 visits.
- Aaron wore a leg brace for 418 days straight.
Aaron in his brace rehabbing at home.
In March of 2018, Dr. LaPrade decided to implement blood flow restriction therapy because Aaron’s quad was starting to atrophy. Through this innovative therapy, Aaron’s blood flow was reduced in his leg so that he could do high intensity workouts without having to use heavy weights. Kim passionately stated,
“This is what separates Dr. LaPrade from other doctors in his field. This therapy is cutting edge and we are grateful for Dr. LaPrade’s proactivity on our son’s behalf.”
A Bright Future
As a result of this therapy, Aaron had no nerve damage or foot drop. Kim continued,
“Dr. LaPrade knew the proper steps to take, but he would not rush anything. Even though he was becoming more active, we trusted in LaPrade’s expertise and Aaron persevered through it.”
Dr. LaPrade and Aaron during their final visit together.
Fast forward to today, Aaron has been cleared to play sports again and is headed to Azuza Pacific University. He is looking to study Kinesiology and play baseball. Kim proudly shared,
“Thank God for Dr. Newman. He was mentored by Dr. LaPrade and through that training, he saved our son’s leg. Most people would have gone home and realized days later that the pain isn’t going away and likely would have been forced to have their leg amputated.”
As for Aaron she continued,
“He has the tenacity, the will power, and the work ethic to push toward achieving all of his goals on and off the athletic field.”