Mark and Jena Blomstrom of Bozeman, MT traveled 1,000 miles – that’s 17 hours by car – to get to Alegent Health Lakeside Hospital to give their 13-year-old son, Grant, the very best.
“I think being here has been a win-win situation for us all,” says Jena. “We’re so thankful for the doctors. They made it possible for us – it was worth the drive!”
Grant is an avid athlete. But in the summer of 2009, he hurt his knee during football practice. The lower half of his knee went one way, the upper half bent the other way. “When I fell down, it popped back in,” Grant remembers.
Turns out it was an ACL tear and repairing it, because of his age, wasn’t easy.
“He was one of the youngest kids I’ve seen tearing their ACL,” says Dr. Kevin O’Malley, an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine with GIKK Ortho Specialists. “He tore his ACL when he was about 12 years old and his potential for growth was huge. So we had to try to figure out a way to fix him so that we did not cause damage to his growth plate.”
Through a series of e-mails and a lot of research, Grant’s parents decided Dr. O’Malley, a father of seven active kids, would be the best person to operate on their son.
“There’s other places we could have pursued,” explains Jena. “But it felt right, and like Mark said, Dr. O’Malley was very helpful. He didn’t just send one e-mail – it was, like he said, 40 or 50 e-mails back and forth, answering our questions, ‘what would you do if it was your child?’ And he was very sincere.”
Grant was in surgery for an hour and a half. Dr. O’Malley used some of his tendons to reconstruct the ligament. The long-term prognosis is good, but there is still a lot of hard work ahead.
“It’s okay, but it’s still kind of sore,” Grant says when asked how he feels before heading back to Montana. He’ll now put in months of physical therapy back in Bozeman before he can return to the field. His goal is to play basketball and football within the year. The trip to Alegent Health was a real game-changer for Grant. He got the use of his knee back, and now thinks medicine might be something else he’d like to tackle.
“I thought about being an engineer – following my dad’s career,” says Grant. “But doing this, I think I might try to become a doctor. Maybe I’ll stay in town, locally and if anyone else – other kids – do this to their knee, they won’t have to travel so far.”
You can learn more about sports medicine or find a doctor who is right for you by calling 1-800-ALEGENT or visit alegent.com/sportsmedicine.