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Published on June 18, 2018

Put Me In Coach

Baseball player.

When 14-year-old Sam Rice tore his ACL, a ligament controlling the back and forth motion of his knee, he feared the injury would affect his long-term ability to participate in sports.

A life-long sports enthusiast, Sam began playing baseball at the age of four, joining his first travel team when he was seven. “He’s been very adamant that he at least wants to play in college,” says Vicki Rice, Sam’s mother.

Given Sam’s love of sports and his long-term goals, Vicki was determined not only to find the best available care for her son, but also a supportive and nurturing environment for his long-term healing and recovery. After researching local options and talking directly to Orthopedic Physical Therapy Director Scott Gibson, Vicki decided to entrust Sam’s care to the Wayne UNC Health Care OPT clinic.

“The whole crew at Orthopedic Physical Therapy has been outstanding, just in the relationship they’ve built with my 14 year old” said Vicki, who is also a former patient

of OPT. “The experience has kept him from getting depressed and dwelling on his injury.”

Vicki said the team has also worked hard to keep therapy interesting

for Sam, by changing the exercises he performs in each session. “One day he might work with rope ladders on the floor; another day he might work with ropes and bands,” she said. “They’ve kept him very motivated and have been a really important part of his recovery.”

Sam, too, has been happy with his experience, commenting that he feels as though he’s progressed more in his healing than he thought he would have at this point. “I was scared that I was going to ruin all my sports and not be able to get back to jogging and running for a very long time,” Sam said. “But, I’ve gotten almost 100% of my strength back.”

Mother and son are excited about OPT’s addition of a Delphi unit, used for Blood Flow Restriction Therapy (BFRT). Only available locally at Wayne UNC (OPT and Wayne UNC Rehab Services), the Delphi unit uses the brief and intermittent occlusion of venous blood flow to exercise with significantly lighter weight while creating a growth and strength response. Without BFRT, the patient would need to lift a heavier load to realize the same results.

“Working with this machine is going to help him build his leg muscles a lot faster than he could physically build them himself,” said Vicki, “to get him to his goal of getting back on the baseball field in the fall.”

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