Back in the Game

Back in the Game

Football. Seth Fitzke loves the intensity of the sport and being part of a team. The Concordia Bulldogs’ tight end set high goals for his final season. But his game was quickly sidelined during a spring practice prior to his senior year; the Seward native sustained a devastating knee injury and tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

“I had instant pain and knew it was different; but I wasn’t prepared for a possible season-ending injury,” stated Seth.

Surgery to repair Seth’s injured knee was his only option and recovery time for the athlete was a lengthy, comprehensive approach. Spring training was now a rehabilitation program to strengthen the muscles around the knee and to regain his range of motion. Seth, his orthopedic surgeon and the Seward Memorial physical therapy team formulated a treatment plan to get him back to the game he loves.

“Rehabilitation is a vital part of an ACL recovery and is essential to getting back to regular physical activity and competition. Our team closely followed the surgeons post -operative protocol and provided patient education throughout to reduce the risk of further injury,” stated Jon McClung, MHCS physical therapist. 

Aquatic therapy at Memorial Health Care Systems was a key component to the rehab process as the unweighted environment allowed Seth the ability to do things he couldn’t do on land with increased safety and good technique. “My therapy time in the pool allowed me to build up my core strength with little impact,” says Seth.

The primary goal of therapy was to regain range of motion and strength in Seth’s knee. But concentrating on balance, agility, running, jumping and landing skills needed to be a priority for this athlete. Many of Seth’s therapy sessions included the Biodex Balance System, the newest edition of high-tech medical equipment at MHCS.

“The balance system provided real-time feedback on the weakness in my injured knee verses my healthy,” stated Seth. The system identified the functional deficits in his knee, providing Seth with a heighten awareness of his body movements and areas to improve.

“Seth is a young, determined athlete. His focused effort and patience in the healing process aided in his rehabilitation and recovery,” stated Jon. He graduated from physical therapy just 10 weeks' post-surgery and made the difficult decision to red shirt this football season. Today, he works with Concordia trainers on conditioning and high level strength and agility, and setting high goals for next football season.