Patient Stories

Thomas J. Klein, MD

Twins Noemi and Tatiana do everything together, buteven they were amazed by this coincidence: the girls suffered the same ACL injury in the same soccer scrimmage on the same day!

It happened when they were high school seniors, playing for the Herndon Hotshots. Late in the first half, Tatiana went for a ball, bumped into another player, fell the wrong way and heard a loud snap. Sidelined, she watched as her sister Noemi charged the ball, kicked it and came down hard on her left leg. “I heard the snap from the sidelines,” Tatiana recalls.  

Both girls had torn their ACL, the ligament that connects the thighbone to the shinbone and helps stabilize the knee joint. It was Tatiana’s first injury, Noemi’s second. She’d torn her right ACL the year before and had repair surgery with Thomas Klein, MD, at OrthoVirginia. At the time, Dr. Klein noted that Noemi had an anatomic variation of the femoral notch and might be predisposed to tearing the ACL on her opposite knee. 

When the twins came to him one year later, an MRI confirmed their ACL tears. Since Noemi and Tatiana were likely to return to soccer, Dr. Klein elected to use bone tendon autograft to rebuild their ligaments. This procedure, which uses tissue from the patient’s body, seems to have a moderately higher success rate in young, high-demand athletes. 

Both Noemi and Tatiana progressed well with a quick recovery that allowed them to head off to college at Mary Washington with no further need for treatment. They are grateful to Dr. Klein for his expertise and open, straightforward manner. “When we finished with surgery and PT, he said, ‘I never want to see you in this office again!’” says Tatiana, who credits her sister with helping her get through a fast-tracked rehabilitation so they’d both be walking in time to start college. “She’d been through it before so she really helped me focus and stay motivated. I couldn’t have done it without her.”