Our son injured his knee while playing in an away high school football game on November 2, 2013. According to the attending physician at the game it was the worst knee injury he had ever seen. Now I will tell you, I am ever the optimist and refused to believe what was disclosed. As our son lay writhing in pain on that beautiful fall day I needed to hold on for hope.
We took Randall Jr. to a local hospital to get him stable. On the following Monday I took the first flight out of Philadelphia to San Francisco for work. No sooner than I got my car rental I received a call from the Lawrenceville School physician. The worst was confirmed. Our scholar high school athlete and two time New Jersey High School Prep Player of the Year had a torn ACL, PCL, LCL and meniscus. He needed major knee surgery. Hope appeared to be gone.
I turned my car around and headed back to the airport to catch the last fight out of SFO back to Philadelphia. But I had some time to kill. The red eye didn't leave until 10:30 pm. My wife called to tell me about this brilliant surgeon in New York named Riley Williams, III. That's who she wants to help our little boy (6'4" and 220 pounds). But it's 6:30 pm West Coast time. The doctors office has long since closed. I mean, I did call but you know....voice mail. It's a new age, maybe I'll Facebook him. But from the looks of things he hasn't been on Facebook since 2011. What the heck. I'll send him a note anyway. It was a passionate and truthful account of my son's story.
I jumped on the red eye and made it home around 8:00 am the next morning. At 8:30 am my cell phone rang. "Hello Randall West this is Riley Williams. Get the films, your wife and bring Randall Jr. to me right away"!
This wasn't a call from an assistant or a secretary. It was from the good doctor himself! That was very surprising. He give me confidence by assuring me that "Hospital for Special Surgery has the capability, capacity and expertise to assist our family in a way our son needs the most"!
I followed his instructions to the letter. We made the hour and thirty minute trip to HSS. The staff was prepared for our arrival. And no sooner than we signed in did Dr. Williams meet with us. It was the most sincere, honest and congenial experience of my life. Everyone was wonderful.
At Dr. Williams' suggestion, while we were not prepared to stay in New York, we checked into a local hotel because Randall Jr. was going to undergo reconstructive knee surgery the next day. When we got to the hospital the next morning everyone was waiting and prepared for us.
I'll tell you something else, when you shake Dr. Williams hands you know immediately from the confident strength of his grip and the contact of his eye that you're going to be in great hands. It was a four hour procedure. Afterwards, Dr. Williams was careful not to over promise, but was optimistic in his approach. He said with lots of hard work and sweat our son will at least be able to live a normal life and at best compete for the job of quarterback at the next level.
On April 17, 2015 Randall West, Jr. took his first snap at quarterback for the University of Massachusetts Amherst Football team during the annual spring game. Hope is in the building at HSS and on the field at UMass and the story is still unfolding. Thank you Dr. Williams and thanks to your staff and all the employees at Hospital for Special Surgery!