K44 -- November 2010 -- Football Player's Amputation
Intro: Everybody knows that football can be a dangerous sport. Injuries are usually considered just another part of the game, but every once in a while, a tackle can change a player's life forever. That's what happened to the young man you're about to meet. But with the help of doctors from Mayo Clinic, he is turning tragedy into triumph.
"I was playing football my sophomore year. I was playing running back. Got tackled. Doctors thought that I broke my leg."
But Derrek Johnson's injury was more serious than that. Derrick got hit hard. So hard that his knee temporarily dislocated, ligaments ripped and vessels that supply blood to the lower leg ruptured. The lack of blood flow caused severe swelling that cut off blood flow even more. By the time he got to Mayo Clinic where doctors could operate, muscles and nerves in Derricks leg had died.
"I was always seen as, like, the jock kind of guy. And when you have that taken away, it's kind of hard and you want to be noticed for something."
Mayo Clinic knee surgeon Dr. Bruce levy discussed the situation with Derrek and his family and came up with two treatment options. One would be to amputate the leg above the knee. That would mean fitting Derrek with a prosthetic that would require a lot of energy when he walked around.
"The other option was to try to rehab the knee, let motion return, let the swelling subside, do a three-or four-ligament knee reconstruction, which is a huge undertaking, and then do a delayed below-knee amputation."
"I knew it would be a long time before I could start walking again or running or anything like that."
After two years, more than 30 surgeries, and a long recovery, Derrek longed to return to athletics. For years he had been a wrestler, so he got back on the mat. Now Derrek's an all-star. (sound)
Derrek is one of those kids who's an inspiration to us all.
Derrek says he wants to be a motivational speaker, helping others to overcome challenges like he did. Helping others to be champions too.
"I want to motivate people as much as I possibly can, whether they're going through a hard time or whether they want to set a goal in life."
A teen who turned tragedy into triumph. A teen who's goal is to inspire others to do the same.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Derrek has received many awards for his athletics and determination. In addition to returning to competitive sports, Derrek is in college studying to be a nurse so that he can fulfill his goal of inspiring others to succeed.
Dr. Levy says it took the expertise of many different specialists at Mayo Clinic to help Derrek. He also says the surgeries were so successful because Derrek is an exceptional person with incredible motivation and drive.
For more information, visit our website at …
STATIONS: Per the licensing agreement, please provide a link from your station's website to http://www.MayoClinic.org or voice tag "MayoClinic.org" for more information.