Mercy Nelson is a 17-year-old athlete who was sidelined for over a year with a knee injury and battled her way back to become a first team all-league basketball athlete and a second team all-league volleyball player for Rainier Christian High School. Her incredible story makes her the star of this month’s athlete comeback blog!
Throughout Mercy’s athletic career, she has suffered from multiple dislocations of her knee cap. These dislocations became so frequent that Mercy was forced to miss part of her 2016 basketball season as she saw physician after physician in search of a fix. Ultimately, she made her way to POA to see our own Dr. Andrew Merritt for a consultation.
Dr. Merritt, who specializes in treating athletes of all ages and has a special interest in knee injuries, noted, “Mercy had a problem with her knee that we frequently see with athletic females. In a normal situation, the kneecap floats in the front of the knee and is balanced by the muscles, ligaments and the knee joint with the femur. But in Mercy’s situation, the ligament and the bone were formed in a way that made this balance unstable and the kneecap would frequently dislocate.”
After evaluation and consultation, Dr. Merritt and Mercy worked together to stabilize her frequently dislocating kneecap. This complex injury required knee surgery, which involved cutting the tibia and reshaping the bone to stabilize Mercy’s knee and reconstructing the ligament of the knee that provides stability to the kneecap. “I am sure Mercy would agree; this is a big surgery. Anytime we have to cut the bone and change the alignment of the leg, it is a big surgery,” Dr. Merritt sympathizes, “But Mercy is incredibly tough. She bounced back incredibly.”
Unfortunately, Mercy had to sit out her 2017 volleyball state tournament and half of her 2017 basketball season, but she knew it would all be worth it if she was able to eventually get back on the court feeling better and stronger than ever.
After her recovery process, Mercy trained hard every day to be able to come back for the second half of Rainier Christian High School’s 2017 basketball season. Remarkably, Mercy went on to win the first team all-league award! Mercy states, “Knowing your body should be able to do something and not being able to do it was the hardest part. I let that discouragement fuel my determination for recovery and fought hard to play again.”
Today, with the help of our orthopedic surgeons, Mercy is doing great and enjoying the activities she loves without any limitations. She was even selected to play in the All-State basketball game this summer as well as Hoopfest, the largest three-on-three outdoor basketball tournament in the world! After Mercy graduates high school next spring, she’ll continue her education and hopes to play college sports.
Dr. Merritt adds, “With a stable knee and Mercy’s unmatched motivation, the sky is the limit.” We’re rooting for you and we’re so happy you’re able to play pain-free, Mercy!
If you experience an injury and want to get back to your healthy, active lifestyle, please contact us today at 425.656.5060 to schedule an appointment with our POA orthopedic doctors at our one of our orthopedic clinics.