A couple of absolutely fascinating sport medicine stories have been making the news around the world.
The article which really caught my attention because it showed the remarkable potential of the Internal Brace technology was a heartwarming – and frankly incredible – tale from the other side of the world.
It concerns a keen endurance athlete and Rugby League player from Canberra called Kai Sklenar, who was due to be running the New York Marathon on November 2nd with his friend Steve Boardman in aid of a children’s charity. In late June, however, and just as he was in full training, the 26-year-old tripped and ruptured his Achille’s tendon. There was no way, he was told, that he’d be able to run.
Above: Kai Sklenar (right) with his friend Steve Boardman.
Kai’s clearly a determined soul though, and fortunately his surgeon, Dr Paul Minter, was well-enough informed to know that after we’d repaired GB bobsleigh skipper John Jackson’s ruptured Achille’s using an IB, he was able to compete in the Olympics just five months later. So Kai had his Achille’s repaired using the same technique as Jacko and after spending six hours a day in the gym was able to attain his goal of running four weeks out from the marathon when he had his first jog up the hallway eight weeks out.
The upshot is that Kai managed the remarkable feat of finishing the marathon. Not only that, but out of over 50,000 finishers, Kai finished in 21,889th (1,403rd in his age) almost half an hour ahead of the average finish time as he crossed the line in 4:19.43.
The other story is a really interesting Boston Globe article about an American surgeon called Dr Martha Murray, who has been working on ways to help ligaments heal without grafts or holes drilled into bones. She came up with the idea of a sponge scaffold that would help the ligament to regenerate naturally.
Her sponge scaffold is now ready for testing in human knees with the end result of less invasive surgery for the 400,000 Americans who tear their ACLs each year (among men, soccer and basketball players are particularly prone, while women are six times as likely to sustain an ACL tear as a male counterpart).