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It was one of the biggest games of Tyler Johns’ high school football career with the No. 1 seeded North Penn Nights—a Friday night District 1-6A semifinal against No. 4 seed Downingtown West last November. But the excitement soon turned to concern.
“It was early in the game,” says Johns, a lineman. “I was blocking someone, and a bunch of people fell on my (right) leg.” Johns thought the pain would go away when everyone got up, but it didn’t. “Then I looked down and saw my ankle wasn’t positioned the right way,” he says.
Melissa Rosenberger with Grand View Health, the head athletic trainer at North Penn, rushed onto the field, then waived to her colleague, orthopaedic surgeon Steven Casey, MD, with Upper Bucks Orthopaedics at Grand View Health. “As the trainers rolled him over, I stabilized Tyler’s ankle and relocated it back into place,” Dr. Casey says.
Two players helped carry Johns to the sideline, where he received a splint. With permission from his parents, Dr. Casey and Rosenberger, he was able to stay with his team as they marched to another victory, 35-21.
Then, on Monday, he visited Dr. Casey’s office. “He had a fractured fibula and ligament damage,” says Dr. Casey, who is fellowship trained in foot and ankle from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He’s also a former Navy surgeon and the former head of orthopaedics at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.
Two weeks after that first visit, Dr. Casey performed surgery on Johns, putting a metal plate, screws and a pin into his right leg to help heal the fracture and stabilize the ankle. Johns wore a splint for three weeks, then used a walking boot for another three weeks before he began walking with crutches and rehabilitating in mid-January.
All the while, Johns kept up his spirits. “His positive attitude inspired everyone during his recovery,” Dr. Casey says. Johns focused on his goal: participating on the North Penn track and field team in 2019, which he accomplished. He qualified for districts in 2018, and this year he qualified for the PIAA 3A State Championships.
Today, Johns is grateful to be back to his regular activity, including running. “I’ve played sports since I was a child, and I used to hate workouts and running,” Johns says. “But now I’m so happy to be running again. This injury helped me appreciate that.”
On and off the field, Erik Laughlin and other North Penn High School student athletes know Melissa Rosenberger as “Miss R.” She’s the schools’ head athletic trainer with Grand View Health. And when Laughlin suffered a football injury this fall, he turned to her for help.
Laughlin, 17, of Lansdale, was warming up prior to North Penn’s second-round playoff game against Neshaminy in November 2018 when he felt his left knee pop. “I could still walk, but I knew something was wrong,” he says. “I kept trying to warm up, but by game time, I couldn’t walk at all.”
“He didn’t say anything to us at first; he thought he could shake it off, which is common with young athletes,” Rosenberger says. “But when his knee swelled up, he came over and told us what had happened.”
Laughlin wanted to keep playing. So, Rosenberger and orthopaedic surgeon John Minnich, MD, with Upper Bucks Orthopaedics at Grand View Health, evaluated his knee on the sidelines. “We were concerned about his meniscus,” she says. Together, Rosenberger, Dr. Minnich, Erik and his parents, Jeanne and Raymond, decided it was best for Erik to sit this one out.
Rosenberger fitted Laughlin with a knee immobilizer and crutches. Erik watched the rest of the game from the sidelines. Then, he followed Rosenberger and Dr. Minnich’s recommendation and called Upper Bucks Orthopaedics to get his knee checked out.
The Monday after the game, Laughlin visited orthopaedic surgeon James Bumgardner, MD. An MRI confirmed that he had a “bucket handle” tear—a torn meniscus. Dr. Bumgardner fixed the tear with surgery performed through three tiny incisions.
Laughlin, also a star wrestler, had to sit out his senior year of wrestling, but he remained a big part of the team. “I went to practices and meets, helping any way I could,” he says. He’s recovering well and expects to be back in top shape by the end of the school year. “It feels so good to walk again,” he says. “I’m doing more physical therapy now and regaining my strength.”
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. Bumgarner 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. Bumgarner. “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.”
After ranking seventh statewide in wrestling as a North Penn High School junior, Patrick O’Neill couldn’t wait to get back on the mat. So last July, just 13 days before his 18th birthday, the Lansdale teenager joined his buddies for a Tuesday night workout.
He was wrestling a friend at a gym in Tylersport when he landed on top of his toes. Patrick’s left foot folded over his ankle. “I heard the snap, and my ankle dropped immediately,” he says.
Patrick’s mom, Cindy, rushed him five minutes down the road to the Grand View Health emergency room (ER). “We got there around 10:15 p.m.,” Patrick says. He left the ER with crutches and an appointment to see orthopaedic surgeon Steven Casey, MD, with Upper Bucks Orthopaedics at Grand View Health, at 7 a.m. the next morning.
Dr. Casey’s diagnosis: a fractured left posterior malleolus and damage to the ligament between the tibia and fibula. Six days later, Dr. Casey performed surgery to repair the ligament. For the next three months, Patrick progressed from crutches to a walking boot to physical therapy. “He was extremely committed to his rehabilitation, and that’s the key,” Dr. Casey says. “The harder you rehab after an injury, the better your result will be.”
When wrestling season came, Patrick was ready. “Miss R (North Penn head athletic trainer Melissa Rosenberger with GVH) helped me do stretches and strengthen my left ankle,” Patrick says. Heading into Districts in late February 2019, Patrick had won 84 percent of his matches at North Penn, and he’s on track to study (and wrestle) at Bloomsburg University this fall. “You can’t rush back from injuries,” he says. “If you stick with your rehab, you will be physically and mentally strong when you return.”
“I didn’t skip a beat!” Life after robotic-arm assisted knee replacement surgery
As the owner of an award-winning catering and event planning company, Marjorie Monahan has spent her career on her feet preparing beautiful meals and functions for her clients to enjoy. But over the last few years, knee pain began to get in her way.
“In my business I work long days and also do a lot of grocery shopping at specialty food warehouse stores. Getting around was becoming very painful and difficult. If the building didn’t provide one of those ride on grocery carts, I needed assistance,” remembers Marjorie of Allentown.
When Marjorie heard Grand View Health was now offering Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery for some patients who need total or partial knee replacements, she was intrigued. She scheduled a consultation with Paul Weidner, MD, with Upper Bucks Orthopaedics at Grand View Health who confirmed she was a good candidate for robotic assisted surgery.
“The great thing about Mako is that it can provide patients with a faster recovery with less pain because it brings a higher level of precision during surgery and ensures the artificial knee is placed in the exact proper position. It’s an excellent option for people on the go, like Marjorie,” explains Dr. Weidner.
A fast recovery with less pain was exactly what Marjorie hoped for, and exactly what she got when she had her total knee replacement surgery with Dr. Weidner in October 2018. She says her surgery was fast and easy and she was on her feet in a matter of days, cooking up orders for clients. “I didn’t skip a beat!”
Think you’re busy? Then meet John Langenstein. He’s in Japan one day, Hawaii the next. As the co-owner of a firm that handles security for major acts during worldwide tours, he’s helped to protect Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jay Z, Jackson Browne, Phish, and even Pope Francis. “I’m constantly in motion,” says Langenstein, 57, of Willow Grove.
But in early 2015, that motion slowed a bit. “My left knee hurt,” he says. “I thought I needed new sneakers.” What he really needed was surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Then, a couple months later, he re-injured his knee. “It crunched like a bag of potato chips,” he says.
Langenstein knew he’d eventually need total knee replacement surgery. But he couldn’t just stop touring. So his Philadelphia-area doctor referred him to orthopedic surgeon Paul Weidner, MD, of Upper Bucks Orthopaedics, and medical director of The Joint Center at Grand View Health. “Grand View was an hour from my home, but Dr. Weidner won me over,” Langenstein says. “He made a chart of pros and cons of the surgery and explained exactly what would happen.”
“Patients often see me after suffering knee problems for a long time,” says Dr. Weidner, who has been practicing in Sellersville and performing orthopaedic surgery for 30 years. “Some have had surgeries and injections, and have used medication or supplements to fight the pain. In all cases, it’s the patient who decides when he’s ready for total knee replacement.”
Langenstein had a tight timeframe – an eight-week touring break late in 2017. On November 7, 2017, he had the surgery at Grand View. “I’ve stayed in hotels worldwide, and Grand View is up there with one of the best,” he says. “I never felt like I was in the hospital.”
That day, Langenstein walked 280 feet to test his new knee. By Christmas day, after physical therapy and rehab, he could run across the room. And 131 days after surgery, he climbed 1,332 steps to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.
Now back in perpetual motion, Langenstein has a new goal. “Next July, I want to run with the bulls in Pampalona, Spain,” he says.
I have always been a high-energy, active person, but faced arthritis as an adult. I was a patient of Dr. Paul Weidner’s for many years before scheduling my first hip joint replacement in 2004 at age 49, following several years of anti-inflammatory medications and painful walking.
When I asked Dr. Weidner how I’ll know when it is time for me to consider surgery, he said, “You will know it’s time when you can no longer do the things you love to do in life.” Without question, I chose to have my surgery at The Joint Center at Grand View Health.
I was fearful the day of my surgery, but my warm, friendly caregivers and nurses put me at ease immediately. Shortly after the surgery and recovery, I was back to living my normal life, doing the things I loved and anticipating our first grandchild.
Shortly before my 60th birthday, Dr. Weidner replaced my right knee. Kathy, my Home Care physical therapist, helped me reach my goal of playing on the floor with my grandchildren. Four months after knee surgery, I was biking 24 miles on Perkiomenville Bike Trail with my daughter, climbing Spruce Mountain, and slalom skiing on the river with our family.
In 2017, a birth anomaly caused non-stop pain in my right hip. My husband and I had planned to travel with friends in October, and my pain wouldn’t have allowed that to happen. X-rays confirmed my joint had deteriorated.
So, I had anterior hip replacement at Grand View and was home the next day. Four weeks after surgery, I resumed volunteer leadership of the Deep-Water Aquatics class at the YMCA. Eight weeks later, my husband and I traveled through Turkey and Greece pain free.
I can now do the things I love—swimming, biking, hiking, rollerblading and water skiing. I treasure the ability to garden, travel, volunteer, entertain and enjoy our 12 grandchildren.
Surgery and recuperation isn’t easy. But I’m thankful to live in a day when joints can be replaced and mobility restored. I’m thankful to live in a community that has a great hospital, staffed by kind and caring, experienced professionals. Thanks to Janice Hunsberger, The Joint Center coordinator, and all of the caregivers at Grand View Health.