In all her years as a competitive athlete, Katie Stone never had an injury. Not during her four years at Regis High School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where she was a member of the basketball team that took the state championship in 2011. Not during her college career at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she holds the record for most three-point shots made in a season.
However, Katie’s injury-free winning streak would come to an end a few months after she graduated from college when she returned to the University of St. Thomas for an alumni basketball game and hurt her knee.
“At first, I thought I could just walk it off,” she says.
A week after the game, the knee was still painful and swollen, and Katie was walking with a limp. An MRI revealed that she had torn her ACL and would need surgery to repair it. Then living in the Twin Cities, Katie returned to Eau Claire for surgery. T. Andrew Israel, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Health System orthopedic surgeon, performed the procedure.
“I know a lot of people in the Eau Claire area who have had knee surgery, and they all recommended Dr. Israel,” says Katie, who had the procedure in February 2017. “He was great. He was very supportive and told me everything he was going to do.”
Katie began physical therapy in Eau Claire immediately after surgery. When she returned to the Twin Cities, her therapy sessions continued at Mayo Clinic Square in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Katie says it was a smooth transition, thanks to the physical therapy staff in Eau Claire. “They were super helpful in bringing the Minneapolis staff up to speed on my recovery,” says Katie, who enjoyed rehabbing in the same facility where the Minnesota Lynx and Minnesota Timberwolves receive treatment. Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine provides medical care to both teams, whose practice courts are at Mayo Clinic Square.
Initially, Katie worried her injury would sideline her permanently.
“My biggest concern in the beginning was whether or not I’d be able to be active again,” she says. “I’d never experienced that kind of setback and was scared of what it meant for my future.”
But thanks to her health care team and her own hard work, Katie’s been able to return to the lifestyle that she loves.
“It took me a full year to recover, but I’m back to living a very active life,” she says. That includes playing recreational basketball, joining a summer tennis league and running her first half-marathon. “Now I feel great.”