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.”