Not His First Rodeo


Tanner’s passion for rodeo began when he was in seventh grade, but an unfortunate accident on a four-wheeler left him with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and sidelined him temporarily from
the sport he loves.

Tanner’s physician — Gene Isabell Jr., M.D., orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Orthopedic Specialty Center and Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute — felt knee surgery to repair Tanner’s injury should wait until he was out of his growth phase. Instead, Dr. Isabell had Tanner fitted for an orthopedic brace.

“We immediately placed Tanner in rehabilitation to help him regain his strength and range of motion,” Dr. Isabell says. “We didn’t want to cause any kind of growth disruption, and with the brace, Tanner was able to return to rodeo competitions and playing sports. Our plan was to follow him to skeletal maturity when knee surgery to repair his ACL would be more optimal.”

A Change in Plans

That was the plan for Tanner and his parents, Windee and Chad, until Tanner tore his medial collateral ligament (MCL) two years later when he was 15 years old. Tanner had to have the fluid on his
knee drained regularly and continued wearing the orthopedic brace for all activities.

“Once Tanner was able to have knee reconstruction surgery, he began rehab,” Chad says. “When he completed that, he did all the rehab on his own that would stretch the knee. He did wall sits and even pulled a sled up and down hills to strengthen his knee so he could continue his rodeo career.” Through all the adversity, Tanner never accepted the idea of a life without rodeo.

“My knee injury has made rodeo riding harder, especially with having to wear a brace,” Tanner says. “There were a few times when I got off my horse and my knee gave out. I had to be carried out of the arena, but after the surgery and rehab, my knee is strong.”

Hard Work Pays Off

The Jenkins family appreciates the renewed strength in Tanner’s knee and the experience with the CHRISTUS orthopedic team. “Dr. Isabell is so encouraging, and the whole staff at CHRISTUS i fabulous,” Chad says.

“They are not only caring and knowledgeable, but they also get to know their patients. It was a wonderful experience for our family.” “We are meticulous about taking care of our patients and their families,” Dr. Isabell adds. “Every patient has different circumstances. We can perform complicated ACL, MCL and multi-ligament knee reconstructions like Tanner’s, as well as treat complex shoulder injuries, to expedite the treatment and rehabilitation that get patients back to playing sports at a competitive level. Tanner is an example of our success as he continues to compete nationally in rodeo.”

“We bring a high level of specialized orthopedic care to each patient we treat at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Orthopedic Specialty Center and Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute. Patients do not have to travel outside of southeast Texas for complex joint reconstruction with the caliber of care available here locally.” — Gene Isabell Jr., M.D., orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at CHRISTUS Orthopedic Specialty Center and Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute

Tanner, now 18, competes in the Texas High School Rodeo Association, which sponsors more than 125 rodeos annually throughout Texas. Despite the fact that Tanner’s own high school does not have a rodeo team, his skills earned him a rodeo scholarship to Northeast Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant. Now, Tanner can continue doing what he loves at the collegiate level with the same perseverance that led him through rehabilitation after his knee injury.

“My dad always says, ‘Never give up. Keep pushing, and it will always get better. Hard work and dedication will always pay off," Tanner says. "And for me, they have."