Full Continuum of Care Gets Mitchell Athlete Back in the Action
Ryan McGinnis knows all about resolve. You don’t wrestle with the high-school team beginning as an seventh grader without putting in countless hours of conditioning, tons of strength training and keeping up your grades.
Last December, his hopes for a season of the sport he loved since kindergarten came to a quick, painful halt on the mat in Watertown.
“I was on my feet, and when I came down, I felt something pop in my right arm,” said Ryan, a Mitchell High School sophomore. “My coaches (Travis Carpenter and Jim Bauder) came out right away. Coach Bauder held my head, so I couldn’t look down.”
A dislocation injury is a grim site – Ryan’s coaches knew if the three-sport athlete looked down and saw how he’d been hurt, he may have made the situation worse.
“I knew what happened, and they were able to pop it back into place,” said Ryan. “It was painful, but I got stabilized and the match was over.” His mom and dad, Karmin and Tim McGinnis, knew the elbow injury was serious.
Tim McGinnis called a friend, M. Shawn Haley, MD, an anesthesiologist at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, who said “Bring him down and we’ll be waiting.”
Every orthopedic injury is unique and many, like Ryan’s elbow, require an ongoing continuum of care. For Ryan, the dislocation had led to a fracture – the tip of his elbow had fragmented and would require surgery.
“Dr. Kampmann and Shawn (Haley) explained what the procedure would be, and they got him into surgery right away to insert a screw and craft a splint to keep the arm in the proper position to allow it to heal,” Karmin said. “The surgery went as planned and Dr. Kampmann explained he would be out for about eight weeks.”
Brian Kampmann, MD, with Avera Orthopedics in Mitchell, said successful surgery was only part of the process to get Ryan back to wrestling.
“Surgery is only a part of the care needed for an orthopedic injury like Ryan’s,” Kampmann said. “Trainers give me important information on what happened because they’re on the side of the mat. The surgery was successful, but the therapists and trainers – they had key roles in getting him back to sports.
Returning would require what Ryan had in spades: determination.
Karmin and Tim knew their son was crestfallen, and not just because of the spoiled season. Ryan plays baseball and football as well, and they wondered about his injury. Would it impact his performance in those upcoming seasons? Ryan felt the supportive spirit of his fellow wrestlers even before the surgery when many of them came to see him at the hospital that night after his surgery.
His recovery began working with a pair of Avera Orthopedics experts who had faced these injuries before. Mitchell High School Head Athletic Trainer Clayton Gropper, MS, ATC, worked with Ryan most days, while Avera Physical Therapist Chris Marek, DPT, ATC, helped him re-develop his range of motion and strength in the injured right arm.
“They really helped me through the training program,” Ryan said. “Having so much time off was really weird, but we worked at it and we set goals.”
Gropper used a simple tool to help Ryan focus on getting better: a calendar. “We started to set short-term goals looking at when he could get back to running and hitting other benchmarks,” Gropper said.
Marek noted how the communication between he and the whole care team – as well as mom, dad and the coaches, really meshed. “It’s a constant discourse across the various disciplines that can lead to results like Ryan had – he did work really hard to get back to full health,” said Marek. “But for parents or athletes facing this sort of injury, knowing your entire team is on the same page – from coaches to athletic trainers to doctors to therapists – that’s vital.”
Everything culminated in Ryan’s return one week ahead of schedule, in time to wrestle in regionals.
While those first matches were tough and he missed the state tournament by one match, Ryan did feel that he was on his way to recovery. He played spring and Junior Legion baseball last summer, and he was back on the football field this fall. This winter, he’ll return to the mat.
“My arm is fine and I think I have a better understanding of how much everyone did to help me,” Ryan said. “When we were doing all that work, they made me feel comfortable – like I was at home. I’m excited to get back and wrestle this season.”