The Toughest Run
Sports are part of 16-year-old Corbin Foster’s identity. When three major injuries in a row temporarily robbed the star football player of his ability to play, he discovered something else about himself: He has deep reserves of perseverance — and maybe a future in medicine.
On Friday nights this fall, Corbin, a National Honor Society student, multisport athlete and junior at Newton High School, can be found flying around the field as a running back and linebacker for his school’s football team. Every cut, tackle and stiff arm is a testament to the determination he showed to return to the game he loves.
Bad Luck Tripled
From 2013 to 2015, Corbin suffered a devastating injury every year, each while playing or practicing football. First, he tore the labrum in his right shoulder. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in his right knee and left knee followed. The third injury was particularly disheartening for Corbin and his mother, Heather. “With the first ACL tear, Corbin didn’t fully realize the extent and seriousness of the injury right away,” Heather says. “The second time it happened, he knew what it meant. We were told it was the worst injury you can have as an athlete. It was very emotional for both of us.”
“I never doubted I would play again because Dr. Isabell gave me hope I could still play,” Corbin says.
Calling Healing Plays
The constant during each of Corbin’s injury setbacks was the physician he turned to for help getting back on the field: Gene Isabell Jr., M.D., board-certified and fellowship trained orthopedic sports medicine surgeon at the CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Orthopedic Specialty Center and Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute. “We performed an arthroscopic repair of Corbin’s labrum to restore stability to his shoulder,” Dr. Isabell says. “To repair the first ACL tear, we took a graft from his hamstring to reconstruct the knee ligament without damaging the open growth plates around the joint. For the second ACL tear, Corbin’s growth plates were closed, allowing us to perform an autograft bone-patellar tendon-bone ACL reconstruction, which requires a shorter recovery period.” Each injury required months of postoperative physical therapy and plenty of diligence from Corbin, but he was always up to the challenge. Now fully healed, Corbin is back in the game and has his sights set on more than just the end zone. “I’m thinking of becoming an orthopedic surgeon,” he says. “The way Dr. Isabell helped me meant a lot. I want to find a way to help others.”