Alison Cappas had just made the cut for her high school soccer team when injury struck. During one of the last tournaments of the season with her club soccer team, she collided with another player and they both went down hard. She heard and felt a telltale pop in her knee. She had torn her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL).
“We knew right away,” said her mom, Michelene, who was watching from the sidelines. “She was crying because she knew she had injured her knee. Not so much because it hurt, but she was just devastated.”
A torn ACL takes a young athlete out of sports for as long as a year, requiring surgery, physical therapy and plenty of hard work. For Alison, the swelling in her knee was so bad that she had to wait more than a month before she could even have surgery. Recovery from ACL and MCL injuries can be a long, emotionally taxing road, particularly for kids who are used to being very active.
Alison’s care team at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta helped carry her through the ups and downs, starting with Eva Beaulieu, the Children’s athletic trainer who was on the sidelines at the game when Alison was injured. S. Clifton Willimon, MD, performed her surgery, and she worked closely with physical therapists Doug Hattermann and Kari Hammond for months.