Student athlete chooses Winneshiek Medical Center for care

Student athlete Chase Hubka worked with WMC physical therapist, Ryan Burras, DPT, to regain motion and strength following an outpatient surgery to re-align his kneecap.

Chase Hubka is an athlete. A wrestler for most of his growing up years, and an avid basketball and football player, Chase does not like to slow down. So when he felt his left kneecap shift to the side during a backyard basketball game in his eighth grade year, he knew he needed help.

Following a trip to the Winneshiek Medical Center emergency room, and three weeks of rest to help his knee heal, Chase was back on the basketball court. But his parents noticed he favored his left leg. “We would watch him play, even into the football season, and could tell that he wasn’t playing to his potential,” says his dad, Gary Hubka.

Then, at a fall wrestling camp in his freshman year, Chase felt his knee slip again, but like many teenage boys would do, he fixed it himself. “I popped it back into place and kept wrestling, but it bothered me,” he says.

The Hubkas made an appointment with family medicine physician Paul Wenner, M.D., who referred Chase to Glenn Johnson, M.D., Mayo Clinic Health System orthopedic surgeon at Winneshiek Medical Center for care. The injury had damaged tissue holding Chase’s patella (kneecap) in place, and Dr. Johnson determined an outpatient procedure called lateral release would help realign his kneecap and keep it from slipping out of place again.

After his surgery at Winneshiek Medical Center, Chase received therapy from Ryan Burras, DPT, a physical therapist with WMC’s Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine department. “Chase had some very specific goals for recovery – he wanted to get back on the wrestling mat yet this year,” says Ryan. “To help him safely meet his goals, he came in for intense therapy three times per week.” Chase adds, “I’m glad WMC is just a few blocks from school. It made it much easier to get to therapy and back without missing too many classes.”

Back on the mat

Chase continued to attend wrestling practice while he recovered, riding the exercise bikes until Dr. Johnson gave him clearance to wrestle again. WMC athletic trainer, Kelli Reuckert, made sure he followed his care plan each practice so he wouldn’t re-injure himself. Ryan says, “I was able to work closely with Dr. Johnson and his orthopedic team to make sure Chase was ready to return to wrestling. I was confident he would be safe largely because our athletic trainers are at every practice and can keep an eye on our athletes as they heal.”

Chase’s dad says, “His mother and I sat on the edge of the bleachers at his first tournament hoping Chase’s kneecap would withstand the pressure of wrestling, but he did fine.”

Chase is thankful his knee has been fixed and that it did not alter his high school sports plans. He says, “I was scared that I would be out of sports for good and that my knee would be a life-long problem.” Gary adds, “Although we are cautious, especially as Chase continues to grow, we are thankful he got the care he needed from start to finish here in Decorah.”

For more information on the rehabilitation or orthopedic services WMC, visit www.winmedical.org or call 563-382-2911.

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