A few days later, Shantel took Martez back to the Children’s Mercy Adele Hall Campus for his first rehab appointment with Julie Perrini, DPT, ATC, Physical Therapist, Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center.
“I saw Martez for the first time on Sept. 2, 2020,” Julie said. “He was in a pretty rough place. He came in in a wheelchair with his mom and aunt. In just a matter of days he had gone from being an active kid playing football on a competitive traveling team, to needing help just to move from the wheelchair to the table for our evaluation. It was hard to see him in that position.”
But Julie connected immediately with her patient, focusing on Martez’s love for sports and his goal to play again.
“Julie knew exactly how to get Martez talking about sports, and injuries, and the players,” Shantel said. “She’s able to have those conversations and she understood how to motivate him.”
Julie said Martez is an extremely polite patient who always calls her “Miss Julie” and who has been determined to do everything she’s asked, and more.
“We see the type of trauma Martez experienced in his right leg from automobile crashes or high-impact sports injuries,” Julie explained. “But Martez’s kneecap was another story. The repair Dr. Schwend did was just astounding.”
The challenge for Julie and Martez were the restrictions he had to both legs. “He had healing fractures in his right and left legs, so he couldn’t put full weight on either side initially,” Julie said. “I had to balance his desire to get out of his wheelchair with the need to do so safely.”
Julie started by helping Martez regain his range of motion and strength in his right leg since he could put some weight on it. “The first time Martez came to therapy, he couldn’t lift either leg without help,” she said.
As Julie worked on strength and range of motion, two weeks after the accident, Shantel asked if Martez could attend his team’s football game.
“The accident happened the day before Martez was supposed to play his first game, so he was in the hospital and had to miss it. Julie said it would be fine if I took him, so I pushed Martez in his wheelchair,” Shantel said. “Around halftime, he asked me to go back to the car and get his walker. He was determined to stand on his own two legs with the walker.”
“We always try to encourage our patients to still be a part of their teams so they can see the reality of getting back to their sport and having the support system of their team in place to motivate them to get better and stronger,” Julie said.
And it worked. About one month after his injury, Martez was completely off crutches, and no longer needed the brace on his left knee. “That first month was a really tough one, but all the hard work paid off for Martez,” Julie said.
In fact, he had made so much progress, he was ready to begin aquatic therapy in the pool at the Adele Hall Campus. “Before moving to the next level of therapy, I always checked in with Dr. Schwend to be sure Martez’s injuries were healing properly,” Julie added.