Like all high school athletes who want to play college sports, Bobbie Clayton has always regarded summer as a chance to perfect her skills and get stronger. That’s exactly what she was doing one June afternoon when she tore the ACL and meniscus on her right leg. “I was playing defense in our summer basketball league,” she said. “I stepped to the right with my left leg and I heard something pop.”
Clayton, a senior at Center Grove High School, walked off the court that day thinking she had only twisted a knee. “It was uncomfortable, but not painful, and I figured it would be fine the next day,” she says. A day later, she realized it might be more serious than that. At the suggestion of a family friend, Clayton’s mother contacted Thomas Klootwyk, MD, an orthopedic and sports medicine physician at Methodist Sports Medicine.
After diagnosing Clayton, Klootwyk performed surgery on July 12 to repair the torn ACL and meniscus. “When I was diagnosed, the first thing I thought of was a mini-marathon Mom and I decided to run to raise money for a mission that provides clean water for kids in Africa,” Clayton says. “I was crushed. I figured I was going to be out the whole basketball season and I was not going to be able to run the race with Mom.”
With encouragement from her parents and health providers, Clayton prayed, worked hard in physical therapy and followed everything prescribed for her recovery. It’s a strategy that has paid off. “I really wanted to get into the season quickly and finish my senior year with a strong performance,” Clayton says. “Dr. Klootwyk was very honest and encouraging about helping me get back to playing.”
She recently finished physical therapy and returned to basketball practice. “I’m a little slower on defense, but other than that, I can do basically everything,” she says. Clayton is looking forward to a winning basketball season at Center Grove and hoping for a college athletic scholarship. On October 19, she satisfied a larger goal: she completed the half marathon with her mother. It was a hilly course—one that wasn’t friendly toward first-time participants, according to Bobbie’s mother. “It was cold, rainy, and due to her injury, Bobbie hadn’t trained one mile,” says Penny Clayton. “Amazingly, she not only finished the event, but she ran most of the way.”
Bobbie’s knee neither hurt nor gave her problems during or after the event. She attributes her quick recovery to the treatment, care and concern she received. “I was in great hands with Dr. Klootwyk and John Darmelio, his assistant,” she says. “I felt like they really cared about me and my goals.”