Former Competitive Athlete Expresses Gratitude For Allograft Donation

Alyssa grew up in the Midwest as an extremely active girl who enjoyed playing sports. By the time she was fifteen years old, she underwent her first knee surgery. She initially tore her ACL and meniscus while playing indoor soccer. After rehabilitation and recovery, she returned to finish her high school sports career successfully.

Fast forward a few years to late 2017, she tweaked her knee again while working out only to find out she retore her ACL and meniscus. After her second surgery (an autograft and trimming), she was never able to fully recover and was in constant pain. Unfortunately, neither the doctors nor physical therapists knew how to help. She tried everything under the sun to alleviate the pain but, being so young and normally active, she found her mental state was declining.

She was not able to work out, ski, hike, or hangout with friends for long periods of time all because the pain was constant. “It is extremely frustrating and makes you question ‘why me’”, explains Alyssa. “I think a lot of people overlook the mental pain that comes from a physical injury, more specifically a chronic one, and, in my opinion, that is the hardest part of recovery.”

After a year of pain and constant self-advocating, she transferred hospitals to Mayo Clinic and sought consul from another orthopedic surgeon. He told her that her ACL was not working and that the meniscus was torn to the point that it was irreparable.

Alyssa then scheduled a 'two-stage' surgery. The first procedure in early 2020 was to 'clean out' all the debris and damaged ligaments while implanting a bone graft. The following surgery in Fall 2020 was to redo the ACL reconstruction (using the patellar tendon in her other knee) while implanting an entirely new meniscus graft into her knee.

This time around, Alyssa is progressing nicely through her physical therapy sessions while noticing a significant decrease in pain. She is hopeful to get back to playing soccer and volleyball once more. She is looking forward to her improved quality of life after these four surgeries over the past decade. In fact, she has already begun in a different way by recently getting married and buying a new house.

The gratitude she has for the allograft donation is immeasurable and she is so very thankful to the donor family. “I finally have hope again that I will get back to being the active sports enthusiast I once was. Playing soccer, water skiing with family, coaching volleyball, and lifting weights! My mental spirits have been and continue to be lifted as I'm starting to see the light at the end of this long tunnel - a lot of which has to do with your donation! Thank you very much!”