Patient Stories

Christopher C. Annunziata, MD

Ever since she was three, Jenna has been hooked on soccer. Now 17, she’s a soccer superstar, competing on elite local, national and international teams. The Centreville High School junior is so talented, in fact, she’s already received a soccer scholarship to UCLA in 2010.

But her dazzling trajectory was threatened while playing on the U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team in the Future Stars Tournament final in New Zealand. As the first half ended, she went into a tackle and felt a strange sensation in her right knee. “I didn’t hear the typical pop, but it felt really weird, especially when I tried to jump,” she says. “The team doctor did a quick check, but we weren’t sure what was wrong.” Just to be safe, Jenna cheered her teammates on to victory from the sidelines.

When she returned to Virginia, an MRI at OrthoVirginia revealed she had ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a band of tissue that provides stability to the knee joint. ACL tears used to be career-ending injuries. But with today’s advanced, minimally-invasive orthopedic surgical techniques, many return to the playing field relatively quickly and pain-free.

Jenna’s treatment began with pre-surgical rehabilitation to reduce swelling in her knee and regain range of motion. A few weeks later, Christopher Annunziata, MD, performed arthroscopic surgery in OrthoVirginia's surgical suite in Fairfax. Jenna was back home that afternoon to celebrate her mom’s birthday.

“Jenna’s goal was to return to competitive soccer as soon as possible, so we did an arthroscopic-assisted, bone-patellar, tendon-bone autograph that allows for a fast incorporation time,” Dr. Annunziata says. “This has performed well in several trials in high-demand sports activities.”

Following her surgery, Jenna returned to OrthoVirginia for rehabilitation and strength training. She started running three months later, returned to the soccer field for non-contact play within six months and resumed full-contact soccer a few weeks after that. Now, she says, she “feels great” and looks forward to playing high school soccer in the spring and competing internationally again as a member of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team.

“I had a very positive experience at OrthoVirginia,” she says. “Dr. Annunziata and the entire team helped me progress rapidly and safely, and get back to soccer as soon as possible.”