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Hagen Wunderle

West Simsbury, CT

I’ve been a competitive athlete all my life, playing hockey and lacrosse as well as cross-fitting and lifting on my own. At the age of 13, I’d already been through one torn ACL from playing lacrosse. And then in my junior year, I unfortunately ended up re-tearing the same ACL again while playing lacrosse for my high school team. I proceeded to have reconstructive surgery locally in CT and ended up getting a MRSA infection in which the ACL that had just been repaired, had to be removed in order to get rid of the infection. A month or two after surgery and after having a PICC line for 8 weeks, I was hoping to be cleared of the infection to proceed with the reconstructive surgery necessary to get me back to playing lacrosse with my teammates. Little did I know that there was more to it than just one surgery.

My mom was speaking to a friend who suggested she get in touch with HSS for another opinion on the surgery that was needed and it was the best decision that we made in my journey. We were immediately put in touch with Dr. Answorth Allen’s office and were in NYC the next day for an initial meeting at 7:30am.

Dr. Allen was thorough and kind and openly explained all the steps that were necessary to repair the ACL. After listening to him, I knew that he was the doctor for me and that I’d want him to perform all the surgery that was necessary. He also put us in touch with Dr. Andy Miller, the infectious disease specialist. He was super in easing all of our concerns and explained everything to us for the process moving forward.

It was going to be a long journey, but my trust was fully in Dr. Allen. I was comfortable and confident in his ability to fix me. HSS was also a great place to be: I felt like everyone was so involved and caring about my situation. The long journey involved a cleaning out of the knee to take cultures to ensure the infection was completely gone, a hip graft to fill bone into the hole that was made during the previous surgery removing the ACL, and then the final ACL reconstructive surgery where a hamstring was taken from my left leg to use for my right knee ACL. All this took place over the course of my senior year in high school.

Thankfully, I had already received my college acceptance letter so I could focus on my rehabilitation through all these surgeries. I have recovered 100% and have worked hard to get my knee in good working condition where I can run, squat, cut and move well. It’s been a bit of a rocky road since, with little opportunity to play lacrosse, but I am still hopeful that I will be on that field representing my team this spring thanks to all the talent of Dr. Allen and his encouragement. We continue to be in touch with Dr. Allen and I am so thankful to have him as a resource and friend in the medical community.