Athlete Siblings Return to the Court After ACL and Meniscus Repair Surgeries
Desola Awoyde and his younger sister Simisola have always been active, competitive sports players. For college-aged Desola, basketball is his favorite sport, and he appreciates how it makes him feel connected with fellow players on the court. Volleyball is Simisola’s preferred sport and hobby, and she loves how it introduces her to like-minded friends at her high school.
The siblings’ dedication to their workouts and sports performances has always played a major role in helping them avoid injuries. That is, until the fall of 2022, when both Desola and Simisola suffered ACL injuries and meniscus tears within days of one another.
While running for the ball during a volleyball session, Simisola swerved on her right knee and heard a loud popping noise. Despite the injury feeling uncomfortable, Simisola underestimated its severity and kept playing.
Just four days later, while playing basketball with his friends, Desola heard a large pop in his left knee when a player fell and landed on his leg. Without any prior knowledge or familiarity with ACL injuries, Desola brushed off the injury and continued playing, thinking he would easily recover. However, over the next four weeks, his knee condition grew worse, and he kept hearing pops.
After getting MRIs to learn more about the source of popping in their knees, the Awoyde siblings were shocked to find out they had ACL injuries and meniscus tears. Neither of them had ever suspected their injuries were severe enough to require surgery.
“I still couldn’t believe I had injured myself,” says Desola after learning he needed surgery. “I felt scared and nervous, and didn’t know what to expect. I’m not usually an emotional person, but I was feeling a bit of fear, especially given all the hard work I had put into improving my sports performance. But I wanted to get back on the court as quickly as possible.”
That’s when Desola and Simisola visited Dr. Patrick S. Buckley at University Orthopaedic Associates (UOA).
“Dr. Buckley really did great at explaining what the surgery was about,” says Simisola, referring to her consultation with the UOA orthopaedic surgeon. “Initially, I didn’t understand much about the ACL and other medical jargon the UOA staff were using, but they did a great job at helping me understand what was happening to my knee.”
Desola and Simisola both underwent ACL reconstructions and meniscus repairs on the same day in December 2022. Desola had surgery first, and Simisola had surgery immediately after Desola’s procedure a few hours later. A few days later, the siblings started meeting with physical therapist Joseph (Joe) Abadir to begin their rehabilitation.
The Awoyde siblings say that their surgeries ended up having a tremendous impact on their overall physical well-being, which wasn’t apparent until later on in recovery. They say that Dr. Buckley was by their side all throughout recovery to follow up and make sure they were healing properly, and that Joe was also always there to help them strengthen their legs as much as possible and to minimize the risk of future injuries.
It’s taken nearly an entire year for Simisola and Desola to fully recover from their injuries, but both siblings say they’ve experienced great progress. “My pain was ‘smooth sailing’ from the get-go, and this is the best my leg has felt since having surgery,” says Simisola of her recovery. “Once in a while I’ll feel a pinch of pain, but otherwise have little to no complaints about my knee.”
Desola says he is still in recovery and isn’t completely healed, but he knows that his performance will come back with time and that he is past the worst phase of recovery. He recently played his first basketball game since being injured, after months of wearing a brace and working solo on fundamental basketball skills. Simisola says it was a few months ago that she truly felt stronger since her injury, and that she has fully resumed playing sports.
When asked if they could say one thing to Dr. Buckley and Joe, the Awoyde siblings had much more to say in the way of thanking these orthopaedic professionals for their help, support, knowledge and understanding of the ACL and meniscus.
“I am thankful you worked on my leg because you were always there and always advised on the right steps to take,” says Desola. “We had an amazing journey at UOA, and the entire staff was very helpful.”
Simisola says, “Dr. Buckley and staff: thank you for helping me get stronger and to where I am today. I have lots of great memories working with the staff and physical therapists, and extend a special thank you to them.”
University Orthopaedic Associates offers a wide range of orthopaedic services including ACL reconstructions and meniscus repairs. Contact UOA today at (732) 537-0909 to request an appointment if you need treatment for an orthopaedic injury.