Stanton Collins was not your typical middle school athlete. As a budding sprint kayak star with the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club (LCKC), there was nothing recreational in Collins’ training methods, as he tested limits both on the water and in strenuous gym and cardio sessions.
So when Collins injured his knee in a snow skiing accident, he crossed his fingers that the recovery would be short and quick, maybe a simple sprain that allowed a sharp return to his kayaking regimen. Instead of improving, however, the pain lingered, derailing Collins’ plans and bringing he and his family to the realization that something more than simple rest was required.
At first he sought the help of physical therapy at Longstreet Clinic. It was there that trained therapists diagnosed something more severe and immediately connected Collins with Longstreet Clinic Orthopedics, where Derek Moore, M.D., a sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon, determined that Collins was a candidate for arthroscopic surgery.
“I just thought it was a sprain, but after a week I knew something more damaging had happened, so we went to have it looked at, and Dr. Moore knew immediately that we might have to do something to it to get me back to normal,” Collins said. “He told me that the if we didn’t do something about it that the injury might have some long-term effects for me.”
Getting to the root of the injury
Diagnostic tests revealed he’d suffered a small tear of his ACL — though it was a torn tendon at the back of the knee that was of particular concern to Dr. Moore.
“At first it seemed like Stanton might have had a torn meniscus or a partial tear in a couple of ligaments, so we completed an MRI exam and that revealed something not very common,” Dr. Moore said. “We wanted to clean that up to allow him to get started on his rehab right away.”
Being that Collins was an active preteen meant that immediate care and diagnosis was crucial and could have long-term repercussions for his goals of reaching the pinnacles of the sport.
“As an adult you have time to watch and see what happens in recovery, but in a preteen, especially, if you wait and the body grows you could have the potential for serious problems,” Dr. Moore said. “I have seen preteen patients that waited and then came back much later with problems, and they had grown three inches in the interim. That definitely changes the body and how it functions.”
Thanks to Dr. Moore sitting down with the entire Collins family (Stanton’s mother is Longstreet Clinic CEO Mimi Collins) and providing a full range of information — not only about the procedure, but about the recovery process and the intricacies of a growing body — the Collins’ opted for the arthroscopy, which involved only a small pencil-tip-sized incision in the knee and minimum invasiveness.
Working closely with Dr. Moore and the Longstreet Clinic Physical Therapy department, Collins also coordinated a rehab process, post-operation, that allowed him to resume activity in a timely but safe manner.
He hasn’t looked back since.
“I had already been training for two, three years at that point, and I remember, not long after the surgery, I was right back on track,” Collins said. “It made a huge difference for me, and by talking with Dr. Moore and the physical therapy staff at Longstreet Clinic, I was able to keep working out, with some limitations, almost immediately. And I was back to full training very quickly. I had to wear a brace for a little bit, but it did not hold me back.”