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Soccer player coming back strong after ACL injury

“Raph Colasito has been spending a lot of time at the Foothills Sports Medicine Gilbert Mesa location.

He and owner/treating physical therapist Matt MidKiff have been working on strengthening his right knee.

“We did a treatment called augmented soft tissue mobilization,” Midkiff said. “[This is] a tool-assisted method with what are called wash out tools and that allows us to break up scar tissue.”

Colasito tore his ACL during a tournament with his club team SC Del Sol in February.

“Beginning of the second half, I went to tackle at midfield and as I was driving and getting away from the person I wanted from, him and his teammate sandwiched me and one of the players came across my knee and then my knee came out and as I was falling I heard three pops,” Colasito said.

“He presented with me a little bit late and so he already had a little bit of stiffness and so we did what is called pre-rehab and we worked on his range of motion before surgery,” said OrthoArizona sports medicine specialist Dr. Shelden Martin. “It’s always better to have good range of motion, good quadriceps control and normal gait before go in and do an ACL reconstruction.”

Martin did Colasito’s surgery in April.

“A lot of times it’s an issue of educating these patients and athletes about the recovery period and understanding this is kind of a year out of their life,” Martin said.

The doctor and Midkiff have been working together to help Colasito recover from his injury.

“The first six weeks after surgery are really just controlling swelling and getting range of motion back,” Martin said. “After that it’s really working on getting that quad muscle to start and getting back its strength and its bulk and that takes many months.

“When you get to three months is when we start progressing to running and four months and beyond is more sports-specific activities like jumping, cutting, twisting, pivoting and training in three planes of front to back, side to side, up and down,” Martin continued.

The 18-year-old is more than four months out from his surgery.

“Once they get passed that four-month time frame, it’s kind of as strong as it will be,” Midkiff said. “The bone is healed around the grafts and ultimately we can start to challenge the knee with difficult and more lateral and rotational patterns.”

Colasito is working hard to not only get back to the sport that has been part of his life since he was 3 years old, he wants the opportunity to try out for the Division I men’s soccer team at Grand Canyon University in the spring.

He will be a freshman in the fall.

“Before this I wanted to rush into things, but with all the people who I know that have torn their ACL, they said take your time and that’s helped me with my patience a lot,” Colasito said.

Patience and a never-give-up attitude can go a long way.

“I hope when they see this that it pushes them to stay focused and there is always a way,” Colasito said.

About Shelden Martin

I've had the privilege of working with many professional, collegiate and high school athletic teams. I am currently the head team physician for the 2012 AFL World Champion Arizona Rattlers. I have also presented research both nationally and internationally and published extensively in peer-reviewed literature.