In all her years as a competitive athlete, Katie Stone never had an injury. Not during her four years at Regis High School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where she was a member of the basketball team that took the state championship in 2011. Not during her college career at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she holds the record for most three-point shots made in a season.
Katie's injury-free streak came to an end, however, a few months after she graduated from college when she hurt her knee during an alumni basketball game at St. Thomas. "At first, I thought I could just walk it off," she says.
"(Dr. Israel) was great. He was very supportive and told me everything he was going to do."Katie Stone
A week after the game, the knee was still painful and swollen, and Katie was walking with a limp. An MRI revealed that she had torn her ACL and needed surgery to repair it. Then living in the Twin Cities, Katie returned to Eau Claire for surgery. T. Andrew Israel, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire performed the procedure in February 2017.
"I know a lot of people in the Eau Claire area who have had knee surgery, and they all recommended Dr. Israel," Katie says. "He was great. He was very supportive and told me everything he was going to do."
"It took me a full year to recover, but I'm back to living a very active life."Katie Stone
Katie says it was a smooth transition. "They (the physical therapy staff in Eau Claire) were super helpful in bringing the Minneapolis staff up to speed on my recovery," says Katie, who enjoyed rehabbing in the same facility where the Minnesota Lynx and Minnesota Timberwolves receive treatment. Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine provides medical care to both teams, whose practice courts are at Mayo Clinic Square.
At first, Katie worried her injury could sideline her permanently. "My biggest concern in the beginning was whether or not I'd be able to be active again," she says. "I'd never experienced that kind of setback and was scared of what it meant for my future."
But with the support and encouragement of her Mayo care team, coupled with her own hard work, Katie's been able to return to the lifestyle that she loves.
"It took me a full year to recover, but I'm back to living a very active life," she says. That includes playing recreational basketball, joining a summer tennis league and running her first half-marathon. "Now I feel great."
Note: A version of this story originally was published in Hometown Health.