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Taking a knee

Editor’s note: This is the third segment in a series about Ohio sophomore Kaitlyn Hughes’ ACL injury and her road to recovery.

OHIO — About a week after surgery Hughes switched to over-the-counter drugs to manage the pain.

“I went on Aleve. But, I have to take them because we’re having trouble getting my leg straight. I have physical therapy every week day because I can’t get it straight.”

At physical therapy, Hughes works on rehabilitating her leg.

“(I) just stretch, mostly my hamstrings and my calves because they’re tight. We just stretch them because it’s so tight in there. Then we have to move my kneecap around because it’s locked into place.”

At this point what Hughes can do physically is limited. She got behind schedule because she could not straighten her leg completely. Once she achieves that goal, she will expand her activities

“I will be on the bike, and I can swim,” she said. “Swimming helps with the strength. And, I have to walk all the time. I am always up walking or dangling my feet on something. I go to school, so I walk around school; I walk around the classroom … I walk a lot.”

Hughes said, “After surgery I didn’t get a brace at all. My doctor does not give braces to his ACL patients. He says not having (the) brace helps gain mobility back faster. And it helps you want to get up and walk, not just sit down all the time. I’d rather it be like that because I was trying to walk a week after surgery because it’s the most frustrating thing.”

Hughes began the process almost immediately after surgery.

“I think it helped that I didn’t just keep it stiff,” she said. “I went to an athletic trainer, and he said to try and walk on it a week after. I had surgery on a Thursday, and I went to physical therapy on Monday, and he told me to try to walk on it.

“I can walk on it with my crutches; I just couldn’t put all of my weight on it.”

She got rid of the crutches two weeks after surgery.

“She blossomed almost overnight,” Dee Hughes said.

Hughes said she doesn’t have any trouble driving. In fact, she just got her license a bit after the surgery.

“My birthday was six days after I had surgery. So, I was bummed. I was supposed to go get my license that day. My whole family came over,” she said, choosing not to postpone the surgery.”

Starting the week after spring break she began working on strength.

“Strength is the biggest thing from your surgery because you lose all your strength in your leg. I should be back, recovered. But, it takes a fully year to be back where I was before,” she said.

She readily admits, it’s hard staying motivated.

“It’s really hard … pretty much keep your head up because there are so many times I just want to thank my Dad. There are so many times that I just want to give up, and he says, ‘Stick in there. What about volleyball season this year? You got it’ … stuff like that,” she said.

“You get very frustrated … but, I just stick in there because I know that I will come back and be better. I’ll just come back and perform. I was leading rebounder in the county as a sophomore, and I am going to come back and be as good again.”

Hughes will be continuing therapy throughout the summer and hopes to be playing on the volleyball team in August. The BCR will continue to follow Hughes’ progress throughout the summer.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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