Patient Stories

Thomas J. Klein, MD

Baseball fanatic Brian had just started a game at shortstop for the Industrial Baseball League of Northern Virginia when he took a throw from the right fielder to cut down the runner at second base. As the player barreled in, Brian tagged him out, forcing his thumb backward and to the right violently. Despite the pain, and the fact that he couldn’t grip anything with his left hand, Brian finished the remaining eight innings of the game – swinging the bat with his right hand and making plays at shortstop by knocking the ball down with his glove.

“If my mom was there, I would have been in the hospital emergency room within 20 minutes,” Brian jokes. Instead, his mother recommended he see Thomas Klein, MD, at OrthoVirginia, who had treated Brian and other family members for various injuries over the years. Dr. Klein referred Brian to Sarah Pettrone, MD, a hand and upper extremity specialist at OrthoVirginia.

Dr. Pettrone diagnosed skier’s thumb, an injury in which the thumb is abnormally bent backward or to the side. Although there was a possibility that Brian’s thumb would heal on its own, he took Dr. Pettrone’s advice and opted for surgery. The procedure involved reattaching the ligament back down to the bone. He spent two weeks in a splint and two more weeks in a hand cast, which was removed just in time for him to start his first job at McQuade Brennan, LLP, an accounting firm in Washington, DC.

Two years later, Brian has regained full functionality of his thumb and is back to all the activities he loves, including his great passion, baseball. He recently completed his first summer season as head coach of the FedLock Falcons, a team sponsored by Federal Lock and Safe in Arlington. In his managerial debut, the 24-year-old from Vienna led the Falcons to victory in the Reno Powell Memorial Weekend Tournament in Hagerstown and finished the season with an impressive 13-6 record.

He credits the “fantastic” team at OrthoVirginia with helping him get back to the game. “Everyone there is very friendly and wants to see you get better as quickly as possible,” he says. “Dr. Pettrone did a tremendous job repairing my hand. She even called me a few days afterward to see how I was doing. I didn’t expect this and it brought a huge smile to my face. It just shows how much she truly cares about her patients.”