Like many high school football players in the state of Texas, Anthony Edwards has dreams that go beyond the Class 6A gridiron. The 18-year-old Cedar Hill High School senior wants to excel both on the football field and in the classroom when he heads off to college in 2024.
As his team’s starting quarterback and carrying a 3.9 GPA, Anthony seems to be on the right path to make things happen. And while he has big plans for his future, it’s recent events that have required his attention.
During his morning football practice on the first day of school on Aug. 10th, Anthony suffered a right ankle sprain. After getting the injury wrapped by the school’s athletic training team, he went on with practice and didn’t much think about it through the weekend. However, during the following Monday morning drills, Anthony re-rolled the same ankle. This time, the pain and swelling prompted a call by the high school’s lead athletic trainer to Sideline Orthopedics and Sports, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice in Arlington.
“Anthony started the school day feeling a little discomfort in the ankle, but as the morning progressed the pain worsened,” says Ernest Edwards, Anthony’s father. “The athletic trainers recognized the gravity and uniqueness of this injury, so they quickly contacted the Sideline office for an urgent evaluation. From the phone call, we were told to come up as soon as possible, that they would squeeze us in.”
Anthony was scheduled for a same-day appointment with orthopedic surgeon Lindsey Dietrich, M.D., of Sideline Orthopedics and Sports. By that time, the pain had become so bad that Anthony and his family arrived an hour early for the clinic visit in hopes of getting a quick assessment.
“An X-ray didn’t reveal any kind of fracture, but what Anthony was experiencing was consistent with an acute compartment syndrome,” Dr. Dietrich explains. “Compartment syndrome is a dangerous condition caused by pressure buildup from internal bleeding or swelling of tissues. The pressure decreases blood flow, depriving muscles, and nerves of needed nourishment. Compartment syndrome has a very short window, just hours, in which it must be surgically treated or there is the risk of permanent loss of function to the affected muscles.”
“Anthony’s injury was unusual and uncommon because compartment syndrome typically results from a serious trauma, like an accident, that causes a broken bone,” Dr. Dietrich notes. “But once you’ve seen one or two of these injuries, you know pretty well what it is.”
To minimize the loss of tissue in Anthony’s ankle, the decision was made to perform emergency surgery close by at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. By 2:30 p.m. on August 14th, Anthony was in the operating room and prepared for a surgical fasciotomy.
During the procedure, the muscle compartment in Anthony’s ankle was opened to release pressure and get circulation going again. “He had lost some tissue at that point, but we were able to clean the wound out to help prevent infection and then go back in the following day to fully close it,” Dr. Dietrich says.
Conquering Recovery and Rehab
After several days in the hospital, Anthony was back home and anxious to get the rehabilitation process underway. Because the injury occurred without a fracture, it wasn’t necessary to limit his weight-bearing ability on his leg. This allowed Anthony to enter rehab quickly with a physical therapist at Texas Health Sports Medicine.
“After the first two weeks of rehab, he was crushing it — walking on the leg and running on it,” according to Dr. Dietrich. “We put him through a progression to make sure he wouldn’t re-roll his ankle and then promoted him to non-contact play. He did really well.”
Anthony and his family are also pleased with the teen’s progress. So much so that the teen is prepared to lead his team in Cedar Hill’s Oct. 6th football game, which will coincide with the school’s Homecoming celebration.
“To go from not knowing what was going on with my son to preparing for surgery at Texas Health Arlington Memorial in a matter of hours was crazy, but I will always go there now if needed,” Edwards says. “The level of support and professionalism was amazing.”
“Initially, we thought it would take about 12 weeks to turn things around, but Anthony’s pain level was virtually zero post-surgery. In less than six weeks, he was fully cleared to play. The ongoing support from Sideline has been great.”
“Everything just clicked to get this athlete on his way to the OR. It was really all-hands-on-deck that day in August and throughout his recovery. The partnership between the school, the Sideline, the hospital, and physical therapy provided a real team approach. We were able to connect all the pieces without gaps in communication and any loss of time. We love a happy ending!” Dr. Dietrich adds.
To find an orthopedic or sports medicine specialist to get you back in the game, visit TexasHealth.org.