It was August 24, Opening Night of the 2018-19 high school football season. The North Penn Knights were on the road facing perennial rival Neshaminy. And Nick Intrieri was ready. On the first play of the season—the opening kickoff—Intrieri ran about 40 yards downfield. He cut to his right.
“And then I took a wrong step,” says Intrieri, 18, from Lansdale. “I overextended my left knee. I didn’t make contact with anyone. It just snapped.”
At first, Intrieri was diagnosed with a sprain to his lateral collateral ligament (LCL), located along the outside of the knee joint. He spent a month on crutches while he rehabilitated his knee, then returned to practice. But then his knee gave out again. His season was over.
Intrieri and his parents, James and Stephanie, then turned to orthopaedic surgeon James Bumgardner, MD, a former standout, captain and All-Ivy-League football player at the University of Pennsylvania and a practicing surgeon at Upper Bucks Orthopaedics at Grand View Health for the past 36 years.
“I had been to Grand View before when I broke my wrist snowboarding when I was 11, and again when I broke my collarbone playing football a few years back,” Intrieri says.
Dr. Bumgardner ordered an MRI, which revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a common sports injury. “We scheduled surgery as soon as we could,” Intrieri says. “It was a Thursday, October 18, the day before our Senior Night.” After the surgery, Intrieri wore a knee immobilizer for three weeks, then began rehabilitation. Over time, he developed a great relationship with Dr. Bumgardner. “I liked him; he was cool,” Intrieri says. “He had come to a few of my football games.”
Intrieri returned to jogging in mid-January. The scars on his knee have healed. Now he’s finishing his senior year at North Penn and getting ready for college with the support of his friends and family. “They taught me to stay optimistic,” he says. “They helped me with everything I needed and were always there for me.”