Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Athlete Favors Local Surgeon for Extraordinary Results Submitted by the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center


Maddy Ruggeberg’s CrossFit career almost ended after an injury sustained during competition. After specialized knee surgery performed by Dr. Tuvi Mendel at the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, she’s back on the path to fitness training and living the life she loves.

Quad-City native Maddy Ruggeberg, 23, lives for sports and fitness. “Being active is who I am. It’s in my blood,” said Maddy. “My mom ran track, and my dad played college baseball. I can’t even think of a time when sports and fitness weren’t part of my daily life.”

She’s even made fitness her career. As a QCCrossFit personal trainer in Davenport, she helps people from all ages and walks of life reach their fitness goals.

Freak Accident Takes Maddy Out of Competition
Just months ago, Maddy and her team members attended a regional competition in Minneapolis to qualify for the CrossFit games. The games are structured as a team sport, involving three women and three men working together to complete workouts they learn about only hours beforehand. Maddy’s team was in the lead when a freak accident left her on the mat, paralyzed with pain.

“I was moving to a machine to do a special type of sit-up when I just slipped,” said Maddy. “I ended up on my back with my left leg under me. I honestly thought I’d broken my femur. The pain was that bad.”

A paramedic team rushed Maddy to an emergency room in Minneapolis. After X-rays, it was determined that Maddy had literally split her kneecap in half. “They tried to move the pieces back into place,” said Maddy. “I told them to just stop.  I knew that I needed to get to a specialist and have the situation fully evaluated outside of the emergency room.”

While still in the Minneapolis emergency room, Maddy called Dr. Tuvi Mendel from Orthopaedic Specialists in Davenport, who specializes in outpatient surgeries and procedures.

Maddy Heads Back to the Quad Cities for Outpatient Surgery
Less than 24 hours after the accident, Maddy was back in the Quad Cities and prepping for surgery with Dr. Mendel.

While the five-hour trip from Minneapolis wasn’t painless, Maddy was determined to have a surgeon operate on her knee at a facility she trusted and knew well.

“I wouldn’t risk my athletic career going somewhere else or working with any other surgeon,” said Maddy. “I had a wrist surgery at the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center a few years ago, and the staff and quality of care totally impressed me. And Dr. Mendel is the best. Athletes—from professionals to amateurs and even weekend warriors—trust Dr. Mendel. When he told me we could do my surgery at the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, I was all in.”

Successful Outpatient Surgery
Dr. Mendel’s evaluation revealed good news: Maddy’s kneecap split was clean, with no fragments or splinters.

“Dr. Mendel told me it was almost as if someone had taken a very sharp ax and split it clear down the middle,” said Maddy. “While that sounds just awful, it was very good for me that it was such a clean break. It meant I could be put back together with more precision and accuracy.”

Dr. Mendel used three hollow screws with wire inserted through the middle to put Maddy’s kneecap back together. The wired screws were crisscrossed between the two broken parts of the knee to butterfly the kneecap back into position. According to Maddy, it was a very easy, comfortable experience.

Getting Back to the Life She Loves

Fast-forward a few months, and Maddy is putting weight on the knee again and walking. She is also actively involved in physical therapy.

“I’m taking it one day at a time,” said Maddy. “It occurred to me at the time of the accident – which was very severe – that I might never even walk right again, let alone compete. The road will be long, but I’ve got the right people on my team. I’m going to be back at it before you know it!”

To learn more about the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, go to www.mvhealth.net and visit Facebook at facebook.com/MississippiValleySurgeryCenter. To learn more about Orthopaedic Specialists, visit www.osquadcities.com and visit Facebook at facebook.com/osquadcities.

Photos courtesy of Mississippi Valley Surgery Center