George Aguiar, MD
As the world's reigning martial arts champion, Nikki is accustomed to hard fights and grueling physical competition. So when she injured her knee while sparring at the 2012 World Martial Arts Games in England, she was not deterred. "My coaches wrapped up my leg and made me finish," says the 27-year-old from Culpepper. "An hour later, I had to compete again. Everyone watching knew what had happened. I got a standing ovation. The mayor took pictures."
Nikki boarded her flight back to Washington with two gold medals, a world championship ring and one torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee. As soon as the plane took off, she knew who to call: George Aguiar, MD, at OrthoVirginia. One year earlier, he had performed ACL reconstruction on her left knee and supervised her return to global competition.
This time, her comeback goal was even more ambitious: to be ready to compete in the Caribbean Sunrise Showdown Battle of the Arts in Trinidad and Tobago within eight months. Dr. Aguiar performed ACL reconstruction on her right knee and Nikki spent several months in what she calls rehabilitation "boot camp"- intense cardio and strengthening focused on returning her to top physical condition.
Her hard work paid off. She was able to compete in - and win - the Sunrise Caribbean Showdown. One month later, she successfully defended her international title at the 2013 World Martial Arts Games in Dublin. But she heeded Dr. Aguiar's advice and limited her matches to forms (also known as Kata) only. "I don't want to take any chances, so I'm waiting to return to competitive fighting until the end of the year," she says. In Ireland, she was inducted into the World Organization of Martial Arts Athletes International Hall of Fame as International Female Instructor of the Year. She is now back in the classroom, teaching earth science at Kettle Run High School in Nokesville and coaching martial arts students at her family's Karate Sports Academy in Warrenton.
She loves Dr. Aguiar's no-nonsense approach, and routinely recommends him to family and friends. "His work is superb and, as long as you listen to his advice, you'll get back to your game," she says.
"It's come to the point now that if someone I know gets injured, I send them to him - no matter what body part it is."