An Amazing Comeback
Taylor Lytle remembers the exact moment she got injured. “I knew something was wrong, because I heard a lot of cracking.”
The 26-year-old New Mexico native was in the midst of her second season of professional soccer with Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) when she fell over a tripped player in a game in Rochester, New York on May 11, 2014.
Taylor incurred a tibial plateau fracture of her right leg. In other words, she incurred a bone fracture or break in the proximal part of the shinbone just below the knee called the tibial plateau. The tibial plateau is one of the most critical load-bearing areas in the human body. Fractures of the tibial plateau affect knee alignment, stability, and motion.
Her surgeon, Dr. Bruce Stamos of Brielle Orthopedics, is also the team doctor for Sky Blue FC. He explains Taylor’s injury: “When she got hit, it drove the upper femur into the tibia and sheared off the tibia. In addition, when the femur hit the tibia, it also tore her meniscus. This is a very unusual athletic injury, especially in soccer. It generally happens in high impact situations, such as car accidents.”
A Tough Road Ahead
“It was overall the hardest injury I’ve ever come back from,” says Taylor. “It was such a unique, weird injury. It was by far the most painful thing I’ve ever been through.”
She underwent a three-hour surgery with Dr. Stamos and Dr. Jason Nitche, his Brielle Orthopedics partner. Due to a significant fracture, the procedure required the use of a plate and screws to secure the bone. With the use of crutches, Taylor had to be non-weight bearing for two months.
But as Dr. Stamos explains, “Taylor was fortunate. Sometimes the damage is irreparable, but she is in great shape and we were able to repair the injury by piecing together the break and getting the joint surface as perfect as possible to reconstruct. Hopefully, this will avoid any post-traumatic arthritis, which is what ends careers.”
A Full Return to Play
Taylor returned to New Mexico to heal and rehab, and reports that Dr. Stamos checked in on her by phone at least once a week. She came back to New Jersey from New Mexico in December to get the plate and pins removed, and to be close to Dr. Stamos, so he could monitor her. “Everything held up perfectly. I saw the X-rays and couldn’t even see where the fracture was it had healed so well.”
She began running in October and playing with the soccer ball in February. By April, she reported, “I finally feel back to normal and I’m not thinking about the injury. I feel completely confident in myself.”
“The doctors did wonders for me and I had full faith in them. Dr. Stamos treated me and still treats me very well, and I trust him with everyone. The doctors and the Brielle staff were very helpful. I’m very thankful for them. I felt surrounded by the best people possible. It’s been a very long recovery, but worth it to feel so good.”