Anderson Sports Medicine Gets Detroit Red Wings/Tigers Reporter Back in the Game
Carley Johnston, the in-arena host and reporter for the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers, is not used to taking time off. She’s in her element racing around Little Caesars Arena and Comerica Park, interviewing players and entertaining fans on the jumbotron before, during and after each home hockey or baseball game. So, when Carley was sidelined with a skiing injury earlier this year, she knew just who to call to get her back in the game quickly: Anderson Sports Medicine.
Carley got hurt in March during a ski trip to Boyne Mountain. She made a sudden turn going downhill a little too quickly and injured her knee. Too proud to call over the sled, she clipped herself back into her skis and finished her way back down the mountain.
“I thought maybe it wasn’t that serious,” she said.
But as she walked onto the parking lot to head home, Carley felt her knee pop. The next day, it was swollen to the point where she couldn’t walk.
“Carley’s injury was a tibial spine fracture, which for her was essentially the fracture equivalent of an ACL tear,” said Kyle Anderson, MD who treated her. Dr. Anderson is the orthopedic sports medicine surgeon who leads the Anderson Sports Medicine team. He has served as a team orthopedic surgeon for the Detroit Lions for decades and worked as a consultant for the Red Wings for many years.
“These [injuries] are often harder to rehab than a standard ACL injury,” he added. “They take a lot of work in physical therapy and she’s doing a great job with it.”
Dr. Anderson’s team saw Carley the Monday immediately following the ski trip. She got an MRI and an X-ray that week. Knowing the injury was serious, Dr. Anderson started Carley on “prehab” right away to prepare for surgery. After a few weeks, she had enough range of motion in her leg to prevent a more difficult operation.
“He walked me through everything and let me know what I was doing right and what I can and can’t do right now,” Carley said. “I was able to relate some of Dr. Anderson’s personal ACL stories to mine.”
After years of reporting on athletes who go to Dr. Anderson to get back in action, Carley finds it ironic that she ended up in the same situation. One of the Red Wings players even personally recommended him after undergoing a successful ACL surgery of his own.
“These players are professional athletes and I’m going to the same doctor that they are, so I definitely know I’m in good hands,” Carley said.
What sets Dr. Anderson apart, she says, is his fast-track recovery program that gets athletes safely back on the field or the ice as soon as possible.
“Dr. Anderson has that professional athlete mentality of, ‘Let’s attack this, let’s get better,’” she says.
Several months after surgery, Carley is back on her feet, but she’s still taking it slow. She can carry her 25-pound puppy, but still can’t run or jump. She says she’s thankful to the Anderson Sports Medicine team for getting her this far and is looking forward to fully healing as the Red Wings kick off their 2021-2022 season and return to an 82-game regular season format in October.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS FROM DR. ANDERSON:
There’s no 100% effective way to prevent injuries like these when one plays high energy sports. Carley’s injury was probably not preventable. But it has been shown that good strengthening and neuromuscular control programs can reduce ACL injuries particularly in young women. ACL injuries and surgery are very common and now generally very successful. The key factor to that success, in my view, is to be very committed to rehab. The really successful athletes become even better overall because the lessons they’ve learned from sticking to their rehab plan translates into better preparation and training for each subsequent season. So, they turn an adverse situation into a positive.