When in pain, you want to be surrounded by family. And when you’re a soccer player with an injured knee, it’s nice when you can consider an orthopedic sports medicine specialist a part of the family.
That was the case when Rileigh Kuhns, now a senior on the Edwardsville High School soccer team, was injured in August 2018.
“After they carried me off the field, I just wanted to call Dr. (Janiece) Stewart and go to her house,” Rileigh said. “I have been seeing her since I was in eighth grade. She’s like family to us.”
Rileigh took a wrong step while playing for St. Louis Scott Gallagher (Illinois side) in a friendly match against Lou Fusz in Collinsville. The result was a torn ACL and lateral meniscus in her left knee.
Dr. Stewart is with BJC Medical Group Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Alton Memorial Hospital. After X-rays and an MRI, Dr. Stewart suggested surgery by Dr. Aaron Omotola, also of BJC Orthopedics.
“I first saw Dr. Omotola in Edwardsville, and he talked me through different types of surgeries that we could do,” Rileigh said. “One of them was letting it heal for six weeks and then when it healed back correctly, I would be able to play. Another option was to have him shave off my meniscus and I'd be back in two months. And then the last one was for him to suture my meniscus and I would be back playing in six months. That was the scarier one because it was going to be longer, but that's what I ended up going with because it would be best for my future soccer playing.”
Rileigh said the surgery experience at Alton Memorial was comfortable.
“They made me feel really comfortable and I felt safe,” she said. “They were all so nice. They all walked me through the procedure and what was going to happen.”
Following the surgery in September 2018, Rileigh had a couple of weeks of physical therapy and was released for running at the beginning of December, then by February she was back playing soccer.
Rileigh has an interest in medicine, particularly anesthesiology, when she begins college this fall at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. While playing soccer there, she will of course have access to the medical staff at the school, but knows she also has good doctors back home.
“I love Dr. Omotola and Dr. Stewart,” Rileigh said. “If an injury were to happen at college, I guarantee I would come back here and have them check up on everything, maybe even have Dr. Omotola do the surgery.”
Pictured above: Rileigh Kuhns is back in action thanks to the expertise of BJC Medical Group Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Alton Memorial Hospital.