On a beautiful day in mid-March 2016, I was snowboarding at the very top of a mountain peak at the Whistler Blackcomb resort in British Columbia. I was cruising through mashed-potato soft snowflakes when I collided full speed with an glacier sized piece of ice the size of half my body that was hidden in the shadows and invisible to me through my goggles. The blunt force of the collision was sustained entirely by my knee joint, which caused my knee to bend back on itself and, in the process, tore my PCL, ACL, and MCL.
I returned to New York City (my hometown) immediately nervous about the severity of my injury, how it might impact my life, and the pressure of finding a team of medical experts I could trust with such high stakes. I learned that I needed pre-surgery physical therapy and I saw Patrick for an evaluation. He was very honest and direct with me about the hard work that would go into my recovery, but also very encouraging about how confident he was that he and the team at HSS could get me where I needed to go. He earned my trust, which is why when he recommended I see Dr. Nawabi, I followed his guidance.
From my very first appointment with Dr. Nawabi, what stood out to me was his confidence and how justified it was given how clearly well-educated and expert he is. He demonstrated a level of knowledge around my specific and rare injury that was very impressive. It made it very easy to trust him with my surgery. The surgical process with Dr. Nawabi and his surgical team was as calm and under control as one could imagine. I always felt confident that he knew how to treat my particular injury in the way that would optimize my chances of a maximum recovery. He chose a somewhat pioneering approach to my surgery that he said would speed up my recovery time, and I am so pleased with the method he chose!
Before I had my surgery, I began working religiously with Patrick and his colleague Snehal or "Snay" on my physical therapy rehabilitation. From the beginning, they said I was one of the most badly injured cases of ligament injury they had ever seen. However, they inspired and pushed me every time I saw them to work hard to recover. They never let me settle for mediocre results when I was under their care. They were always friendly, yet ready to make me earn their respect. I owe as much credit for my recovery to them as my surgeon, Dr. Nawabi. I followed their every word of advice from start to finish and the results were stunning. Slowly but surely I regained normal function of my leg including, flexibility, the ability to climb and descend stairs, the ability to jog, and finally, the ability to lift heavy weights and build back the muscle I had lost through my injury.
I recently finished my treatment with Patrick and Snay and they said I made one of the most impressive recoveries they have seen in a long time. I am now strength training on my own to build up enough muscle to get me ready to return to my favorite sport, hockey and to snowboarding once again. When I was first injured, Dr. Nawabi told me that I almost lost the use of my right leg through nerve damage that could have occurred if my injury was any worse. I went from that state to feeling almost normal yet again, and I owe it all to Dr. Nawabi, Patrick, Snay, and the wonderful, life-changing team that they work with at HSS.
Attached is a photo of me in a wheelchair surrounded by my family the day after I sustained the injury.