As a middle school student, I thought I heard the worst news of my life when I was told I needed a back surgery. That news led to an event that would change my life forever.
My love for sports whether watching or playing started at an early age for me. I was classified as the athlete and occasional “tomboy” by my family. I played teeball then softball for as long as I can remember along with trying any other sport that was thrown my way including basketball, volleyball, tennis, and track & field. I enjoyed being active and was really looking forward to competitive team sports during middle school.
In order to participate in middle school sports, an official sports physical was required by the MHSSA. During my sports physical, I completed the forward bend testing to examine my spine. It was brought to my attention that I needed to be further evaluated for Scoliosis by a spine specialist.
Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine that can present like a “C” or “S” shape in the thoracic and lumbar spine. It can have many degrees from very mild with just needing to be monitored, moderate with bracing, and severe with surgical intervention.
Upon further examination over many consecutive x-rays and spine specialist appointments, it was determined that my “S” shaped curve was growing rapidly and more severe. Surgical intervention would be the best recommendation in order to prevent significant functional impairments for my future. At first, I thought it would be no big deal until things were further explained to me. They wanted to try a newer procedure with fusions versus placing rods in my spine. It would be a lengthy surgery and recovery requiring a back brace and months of physical therapy following surgery. There were many risks to the surgery that at the time I felt invincible and would never happen to me. However there was one thing that frightened me and that would be not being able to participate in sports during recovery and the possibility of not being able to return to a competitive athlete especially with contact sports.