Recovering from a Sports Injury: Isis’ Story

It All About Teamwork: Orthopedic Surgeon Daniel Hampton, MD, and 15 year-old patient Isis Belcher, work together with her supportive dad and an encouraging physical therapist

MedStar Orthopaedic Institute Surgeon, Daniel Hampton, MD, knows a thing or two about teamwork. He watches it in action every time the elite soccer team hits the field. He also practices it with his fellow physicians, collaborating on cases and sharing ideas. But it’s the teamwork he experiences with his patients that really brings him the most reward, when he is able to repair a sports injury through surgery, with the patient diligently following their prescribed post-surgery treatment plan to great success.

He has found the perfect motivated team member in patient Isis Belcher. Isis tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during her final tumbling pass of the day at a gymnastics practice last fall. The energetic 15 year-old said she felt a twinge in her knee after landing, and could no longer stand up. She visited MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center for an MRI, where she learned she had torn ligaments in her right knee, and where she was referred to Dr. Hampton for surgery. 

A student who excels in science and technology classes at Oxon Hill High School, as well as in sports and singing, Isis took it upon herself to do some homework and research her new doctor. “Dr. Hampton had an excellent resume,” said Isis. “And now, I feel like this is going to be a speedy recovery.”

The ACL that Isis tore is one of the main ligaments, or connective tissues, that hold together joints in the human knee. Tearing the ACL is not uncommon, especially during sports, and females are at a higher risk, says Dr. Hampton. Repairing a torn ACL involves using regenerative ligament tissue from another part of the body or from a donor, and refastening the tissue. It is typically an outpatient procedure followed by using a series of knee braces as it heals, and following through with a rehab plan to strengthen the joint.

“Most surgeries have a rehab component, and we develop a protocol for what each individual’s rehab will look like as they heal,” said Dr. Hampton. “Isis is a great patient. She’s motivated and working hard. The patient is a huge part of the treatment. When they put in the work, there is a much better outcome.”

Isis currently goes to rehab twice per week, working with Physical Therapist Jeff Fairman at the MedStar National Rehabilitation Network location at Brandywine. At each session, she spends over an hour performing a circuit of exercises, like walking backwards on a treadmill, enduring balancing exercises and lifting weights, while she listens to music and jokes with Fairman. “She is coming along ahead of schedule,” says Fairman.

“I try to challenge her more and make fun changes to her exercise routine to keep it interesting. ACL rehab is a long process and we want to meet the criteria for her to return to sports.” Isis is now only a couple of months away from a return to gymnastics, and she and her dad are grateful for Dr. Hampton and the whole MedStar team.

“As a parent, I appreciate Dr. Hampton’s courtesy calls to ask how she’s doing,” said Wiziri Belcher, Isis’s dad. “I tell him so far, so good. We’ve seen such good results and the credit goes to Isis as well. She’s working through this and of course, at the end of this process, I want her to be happy and healthy.”

Isis will meet with Dr. Hampton again before she is cleared to return to gymnastics, but thus far, all members of the team—Isis, her dad, her physical therapist and Dr. Hampton—are confident of a bright, active future for this ambitious, young student. For more information about the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute, visit or call 301-782-2220.

Thanks to Dr. Byrne, “I can do it all”: Nurse Shares Personal Account of Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Anita Persing of White Plains, Maryland, chose John Byrne, MD, and MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center for her total knee replacement surgeries. Here’s why.

Anita Persing has always lived an active life, but back in 2007, osteoarthritis began to get in her way. She was finding it difficult to walk long distances and was having trouble executing turns during her weekly swing dancing dates with her husband, Charles. In fact, everyday activities were becoming harder.

As her knee pain worsened, Anita knew exactly the right person to call: orthopaedic surgeon John Byrne, MD, a member of the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute who has practiced at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center for over 20 years. Anita was a registered nurse (RN) who had spent years working in the recovery room of MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s surgical unit. She had seen his work and knew that Dr. Byrne was a caring physician as well as a skilled orthopedic surgeon.

“The best referrals are referrals from people I work with at the hospital,” Dr. Byrne said. “It’s a great compliment when people with firsthand knowledge come to me.”

Anita also had a strong recommendation from one of Dr. Byrne’s former patients: her husband, Charles, an avid golfer who walks five miles each day on the course. More than 10 years ago, Dr. Byrne replaced both of Charles’ hips. The surgeries were about a month apart, in November and December. “His goal was to walk 18 holes of golf by the following March, and he met that goal,” she said. “It has been over 10 years since the surgeries, and he has had no problems at all.”

Total joint replacement experts

Total joint replacement surgery treats the pain, inflammation, and swelling associated with arthritis by replacing parts of the damaged joint with an artificial one. When conservative management of symptoms is no longer effective, total joint replacement can relieve the patient’s symptoms and return the patient to an active lifestyle.

“We try other options to relieve symptoms, including anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and viscosupplementation injections,” said Dr. Byrne. “We try to avoid surgery when possible, or at least postpone it.”

But when Anita’s knee gave out, causing her to fall and break her wrist, she knew that it was time to move forward with surgery. In July of 2008, Anita had her first total knee replacement surgery with Dr. Byrne at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. She had total joint replacement surgery on her other knee in December, 2014.

Anita had a great experience at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center: “The hospital care was wonderful, and everyone was very professional,” she said. “Even though I’m a nurse, I learned a lot by going through surgery on the patient side.”

A full recovery

Dr. Byrne and Anita agree that following the rehabilitation program as recommended is key to a successful recovery.

“With total joint replacement, our goal is to get the patient back on their feet, with no pain and normal function,” Dr. Byrne said. “But a lot of that is up to the individual.”

Determined to walk without pain as soon as possible, Anita got back to swimming three to four times a week as soon as her stitches had healed and got started on her rehabilitation right away. “I found it especially helpful to go to the rehabilitation centers, because they have a full range of equipment and the physical therapists are wonderful coaches.”

Today, Anita is back to living a full life. “We do a lot of things now: traveling, walking longer distances, and I can do it all.”

For more information about the MedStar Orthopaedic Institute in Clinton, Maryland, visit or call 301-856-1682.

MedStar Sports Medicine Conducting Sports Physicals For Kids

tennis kids

This summer, MedStar Sports Medicine will be conducting pre-participation sports physicals at the following locations and times. The pre-participation physicals will be conducted by the staff of MedStar Sports Medicine, one of the premier sports medicine programs in the country. MedStar Health is the official medical team of the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, and U.S. Lacrosse, as well as the official sports medicine and orthopedic team for the Baltimore Orioles.

For questions or to make an appointment, email [email protected] or call 888-44-SPORT. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016
8 a.m. to noon
MedStar Health at Waugh Chapel
By appointment only
2410 Evergreen Road, Suite 100, Gambrills, MD 21054
Cost is $30, cash or check payment accepted 

Saturday, July 30, 2016
8 a.m. to noon
MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
Johnston Professional Building, Fourth Floor
Walk-in only
201 E. University Parkway, Baltimore, MD 21218
Cost is $10, cash only 

Sunday, August 7, 2016
8 a.m. to noon
MedStar Union Memorial Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine at Howard County
By appointment only
9501 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042
Cost is $30, cash or check payment accepted