For years, the three siblings in the Zavadil family held an impressive track record with their activities in school sports: none sustained a broken bone.
The youngest, Brady, shattered that record recently.
“They’ve played just about every sport; we’ve been pretty lucky,” explained their mom, Theresa Zavadil. “Between October and December last year, Brady had two broken bones. It gave me a new perspective on people who deal with it all the time because of their kids.”
Brady, who recently completed eighth grade at St. Catherine Laboure School, will be a freshman at St. John Vianney High School in the fall. Active in sports since second grade, he plays for a baseball team and two basketball teams; previously, he also played soccer. In October, Brady sustained a broken thumb after another player slid into his hand during a baseball game.
In December, after receiving a medical release from the thumb injury to play basketball, Brady played his first post-injury basketball game with St. Catherine.
He dribbled the ball up the court, jumped and took a shot, and when he came down for a rebound, he rolled his ankle and fractured the left fibula, or outer ankle bone.
“That was a long day,” his mom noted. Fortunately, Brady’s injury didn’t require surgery or a cast; he wore a controlled ankle motion immobilizing device called a CAMwalker. His orthopedist, Robert Medler, M.D. of Premier Care Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, ordered physical therapy, and the Zavadils made four visits to Physical Therapist Peggy Eleeson at St. Anthony’s Outpatient Sports and Physical Therapy.
“She was awesome: very patient, very descriptive,” Theresa said. “She would watch him and make sure he was doing the exercises right. She was very encouraging.” When Peggy first met Brady six weeks post-injury, he was having pain and stiffness and was not playing any sports or participating in physical education class.
“Initially, my foot was not used to being out of the walking boot,” Brady said.
“It hurt a lot at first, but gradually it got better and better.” Initially Brady was unable to walk on his foot without the boot, recalled Peggy, who has 25 years of experience as a physical therapist.
“We worked on range of motion, stretching and flexibility, and how to walk properly without the boot on,” she said. “And we progressed to strengthening, high-level gait and balance activities, plyometrics (jump training) and activities to prepare him for returning to basketball and baseball.” Each week, Peggy provided Brady with specific instructions for exercises to do at home, so that he was able to advance in his goal of returning to his sports as soon as possible.
“He was really motivated, hardworking and dedicated, and he had a great attitude,” Peggy said. “Each week he came back with improved strength and overall function, which made his overall rehab process smooth and steady.”
Today, Brady is back to playing ball with his teams, pain-free. He looks forward to playing in a year or so at Vianney, as well.
“I would say we are back on track,” Theresa said. “We had great care from everyone at the orthopedic office.”