Four years ago, Scott Touzinsky thought his professional volleyball career was over after he tore his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) during a game in Greece.
After careful research, he turned to Rick Wright, MD, Washington University orthopedic surgeon, who repaired the ACL in his right knee. Touzinsky went on to become a gold medal winner at the summer Olympics in Beijing as a member of the 2008 USA Volleyball team.
Professional volleyball player and Olympic gold medal winner Age 26, Hometown: St. Louis
On the ACL surgery:
It’s my career so I knew I had to find the right doctor. When I met Dr. Wright I said, “I need this done fast and I want surgery tomorrow.” He said a better way was to wait three weeks and have nine physical therapy visits to get back some range of motion before surgery. He knew what he was talking about because I got back to full motion in five months.
I don’t even feel like I had it. In fact, it feels better than before the injury. All the doctors overseas say what a good job Dr. Wright did on my knee because I have no pain, no swelling, no nothing. I tell them I want everyone to know who Dr. Rick Wright is because he’s pretty much made my career.
On being a gold medalist:
Being an Olympian is one thing, but the gold medal is icing on the cake. It didn’t really hit me until they put it around my neck, but you just don’t see gold medals every day. It’s an honor, and I owe Dr. Wright a lot, that’s for sure.
Rick Wright, MD
Orthopedic surgeon, head team physician for the St. Louis Blues and assistant team physician for the St. Louis Rams
Age 46, Hometown: Sikeston, MO
On why physical therapy was done before surgery:
Right after an ACL injury, you may have significant swelling and loss of range of motion. If you operate on a stiff, swollen knee,
you risk not obtaining full range of motion after surgery, and that can be devastating for an athlete like Scott.
On having an Olympic gold medalist on his patient roster:
I take great satisfaction in restoring athletes back to their former capabilities, whether it’s an amateur soccer player or a professional, and I’m just as excited for the average athlete as well as an Olympic gold medalist to return to a sport.
On ACL tears:
They’re fairly common, with about 200,000 tears a year. It takes most people about five to six months to rehabilitate to return to running, twisting and jumping, and that’s what Scott’s time frame was.