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Cheering for Quality Care

Patient Story - McIlvoy Cheering 200w

The first official day of practice in any sport is one that athletes eagerly anticipate. Keely McIlvoy was just such an athlete last August, until a small misstep after her cheerleading dismount led to a broken ankle.

Luckily for McIlvoy, her school had a collaboration with Memorial Hermann that expedited her medical care. The athletic trainer quickly arrived at Logos Preparatory Academy to assess McIlvoy’s injury. Without hesitation, the athletic trainer referred her to a physician affiliated with the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute.

After McIlvoy’s clinical examination suggested a more substantial injury than her X-rays showed, a CT scan was ordered. Because of the complexity of her injury, she was referred to orthopedic surgeon William McGarvey, M.D., a foot and ankle specialist affiliated with the Institute.

A Strong Recovery

McIlvoy’s injury was an uncommon one. Dr. McGarvey described it as an adolescent variant of an extreme high-ankle sprain. A large bone fragment that was attached to an ankle ligament had pulled off and caught in the joint. The fragment was about one- third to one-half the width of the fibula bone. If left untreated, it would have prevented normal ankle movement and caused injury to the joint, possibly leading to arthritis and disability.

“Traditionally this injury is treated through open surgery, but because Keely is young and didn’t want a large scar, I said I’d do my best to work arthroscopically,” said Dr. McGarvey.

Although the surgery took longer than expected, Dr. McGarvey was true to his word.

“Dr. McGarvey was really dedicated to make this surgery work for Keely,” said her mother. “We appreciated that he always took time to answer our questions and never made us feel rushed.”

Although McIlvoy was nervous about undergoing her first-ever surgery, sitting on the sidelines the entire fall semester proved more difficult. After all, she had made the new cheerleading squad at her school the previous spring and had planned to participate in her first officially sanctioned volleyball practice right after cheer practice on that fateful day.

“I still went to games and sat with my coach during the recovery period,” she said. “Sometimes it was hard to do, but at the same time I knew if I tried to participate I’d do more damage.

After six weeks in a cast, four weeks in a boot and six weeks of rehabilitation, McIlvoy found herself stronger than ever and returned to her sports.

Outreach Team Helps Expedite Care

“We can prescribe the appropriate care for athletes or refer them to a physician with experience specific to their injury.

The relationship between Logos Preparatory Academy and Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine is one of hundreds of customized collaborations in place that are benefiting school and club sports athletes from across the Greater Houston area.

For schools with athletic trainers on staff, the Athletic Training Outreach Team serves as a resource by answering questions and streamlining access to Memorial Hermann-affiliated physicians and related services including diagnostic imaging and physical therapy. For schools without athletic trainers, the Outreach Team also makes weekly, on-campus visits to assess injured players.

“We can prescribe the appropriate care for athletes or refer them to a physician with experience specific to their injury,” said Bastin. “Coaches, parents and athletes know we’re coming so they’re ready for our injury evaluations. If something happens during the week, the athletic personnel at the schools know our athletic trainers are just a phone call away.”

Bastin added that the Outreach Team athletic trainers are well connected with Memorial Hermann emergency centers and its affiliated physicians, so they can help expedite care of injured athletes.