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Get Back to Play With the help of CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System's orthopedic specialists, Makayla Williams didn't let a serious knee injury derail her athletic ambitions.

In a January 2015 basketball game for West Sabine High School, Makayla Williams, who was 15 years old at the time, went up for a layup. When she came back down, she heard and felt her knee pop.
“I couldn’t play, and I was on crutches,” says Makayla, who also runs track and is a competitive cheerleader. “I got an MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] to figure out what was going on.” The CHRISTUS Southeast Texas athletic outreach trainers evaluated Makayla and referred her to Curtis Thorpe, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System and Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute, who has a subspecialty in sports medicine.

Dr. Thorpe diagnosed Makayla with a complete anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear and torn lateral meniscus and put Makayla into a brace until her surgery. “She had surgery in February to reconstruct the ACL and repair the meniscus, and she did very well in postoperative physical therapy,” Dr. Thorpe says. “Her physical therapy emphasized getting her strength, range of motion and agility back, and she was very dedicated. It’s important for someone with this injury to be conscious and dedicated about rehab, and Makayla had a lot of support from her parents and family.”

Dedication and Drive

Six months out from her surgery, Makayla was fitted with a brace and placed on a return to-play program to prepare her for upcoming sports’ seasons. “I was ready for basketball the next year,” Makayla says. “I only sat out of cheerleading because tryouts were the same year I got hurt.” Makayla, who is 17 now, made First Team All District in both her comeback junior basketball season as well as her senior season this year.

“Sports injuries happen, and those injuries are best treated through rapid evaluation, accurate diagnosis and proper treatment,” Dr. Thorpe says. “If those are done correctly with the right experts, athletes like Makayla can get back to their pre-injury level of sports activities. That's our goal."