As 14-year-old Mogadore High School freshman Logan Penix was gearing up to play in a weekend tournament with his travel baseball team last year, he suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in his knee.
“Logan is a natural athlete,” said Logan’s dad, Jason. “Sports are his world so this was a devastating injury to a kid who is a 4-sport athlete. They think their lives are over when this happens.”
Logan’s parents sought the care of sports medicine physician Michelle Burke at Akron Children’s Hospital, where an MRI revealed he had torn his ACL as well as his meniscus, the knee cartilage that cushions the knee joint.
“This injury occurred the spring before his freshman year of high school and his goal was to get back on his feet as quickly as possible so he could play football in the fall,” said Jason. “Mogadore’s team is very good and we almost always make it to regionals and Logan wanted to be a part of that team.”
With that timeframe in mind, orthopedic surgeon Paul Fleissner performed the ACL repair using part of Logan’s hamstring to make a new ACL. He also repaired 5 tears to the meniscus.
But, Logan still had a long road of rehabilitation ahead of him.
“We went to physical therapy twice a week for 23 weeks in the sports medicine department at Akron Children’s,” said Jason. “Logan’s therapists Dan Norman and Doug Sklenka were very diligent about making sure Logan was doing what he was supposed to be doing, but at the same time not overdoing it.”
Having run on the middle school track team and broken a number of records, Logan was determined to run in the Mogadore Wildcat 5K that he had placed well in the year before.
“The 5K race was just 7 weeks after his surgery,” said Jason. “He had planned to walk it just to prove to himself that he could, but he ended up running it just 10 minutes slower than he did in 2014.”
During football season Logan worked with Akron Children’s athletic trainer Steve Lutz who was also the on-site trainer at Mogadore High.
“Steve would keep an eye on him and check in with his physical therapists to ask what he could do and what he shouldn’t do,” said Jason.
Logan’s perseverance paid off when he got some field time in the final playoff game of the season.
“It was a proud moment for him,” said Jason.
Logan still does some prescribed exercises at home to minimize the chances of repeating the injury.
“It’s been 14 months and he still has a little bit of swelling, but it’s almost like he hasn’t lost a step,” said Jason. “He’s a testament to the fact that if kids do what they’re supposed to do and take care of themselves, it’s possible to come back from an injury like this.”