A three-sport athlete at Dufur High School who has won several state track-and-field
championships, Taylor is usually at the top of her game.
One thing the senior doesn’t have time for is pain. But during sophomore
year of high school, there it came. After a successful volleyball and
basketball season, an inflamed knee started to impact Taylor’s performance
in track and field. Performing at less than full strength, she took third
in discus and fifth in the shot-put at the 2012 state championships.
“I was definitely frustrated,” she remembers. “I am really
competitive and I always try to do my best.”
Plagued by the severe discomfort in her knee, Taylor’s parents, both
coaches, first suggested ice and rest. When the pain failed to diminish,
an observant trainer took notice.
Through a contract with the school district, Mid-Columbia Medical Center
places athletic trainers in local high schools to provide assistance and
training to young athletes. After working with Taylor, Dufur’s trainer
Susan L’Hommedieu eventually suggested she see Dr. Mark Cullen,
of MCMC Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery.
Dr. Cullen is well known in the region for his upclose-and-personal approach
to the practice of sports medicine. He can frequently be seen on the sidelines
or in the stands at local games, as near as possible to the action and
the athletes he may someday provide care to, if he hasn’t already.
“I enjoy all sports, and it’s fun to watch athletes you know
compete,” he says.
Dr. Cullen adds that MCMC has worked hard to make sports safer for local
youth through the development of programs to improve the overall health
and fitness of athletes. In addition to staffing schools with athletic
trainers, MCMC has created dynamic warm-up programs, provided instruction
on how to throw, jump and run more effectively and more.
After seeing Taylor, Dr. Cullen diagnosed her with Osgood-Schlatter Syndrome,
a condition caused by inflammation of the tendon below the knee cap. Osgood-Schlatters
occurs most often in children who participate in sports that require running,
jumping and what Dr. Cullen calls, “explosive movements.”
Over-training and over-use can worsen the problem. While the condition
usually rights itself as an adolescent grows, in rare cases it can worsen
and require more serious medical interventions. This can include surgery
to remove bone fragments that can cause the type of severe pain experienced
The athlete’s busy schedule didn’t allow much time for surgery
and recuperation, but careful planning ensured that she would be able
to participate in at least a part of each of her three sports during the
2013-2014 school year.
Scheduling her surgery to follow volleyball season, Taylor worked to strengthen
her knee until she was able to play in the latter half of the basketball
season. With hard work, she also was ready to fully participate in her
favorite track-and-field events, the discus and shot-put.
According to Taylor, Dr. Cullen’s treatment was a game changer.
“Having the surgery was the best decision I ever made, sports-wise,”
she says. “It was really worth it.”
Her performance at last spring’s state track-and-field championships
where Taylor took first place in the discus and shot-put leaves little
question of that.
For more information about sports injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation,
call MCMC Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics at 541-506-6500.