Cody Holland formed a special bond with his Akron Children’s physical therapist that even transcends deep-rooted football rivalries.
Holland worked with Erin Shilling, an Akron Children’s physical therapist in the pediatric-focused sports medicine program at our Beeghly campus, for nearly all of his 70-plus therapy sessions after tearing his ACL, MCL and PCL in a season-ending injury in September 2015.
“Miss Erin graduated from Poland, but she brought me a Canfield Cardinals cake from the whole staff after I finished my last session,” said Cody, 17, a senior tight end and defensive end on the Canfield High football team. “I know that had to be hard for her to walk through the store carrying that, but I really appreciated it.”
Canfield and Poland are situated just a few miles apart along U.S. Rt. 224 in Mahoning County.
Sports medicine physician Christopher Liebig and pediatric orthopedic surgeon Patrick Riley, Jr., diagnosed and treated Cody after a player on his own team was inadvertently blocked into the side of his right knee during a routine football play.
“It’s almost like a second home to me,” Cody said about the sports rehab unit. “Everybody’s friendly and they work me very hard. But it’s more than just business; we have conversations. Miss Erin looks out for me, tells me each week what I’m allowed to start doing, and lets me go at my own pace. And that’s a big deal.”
Erin says the sports rehab unit specializes in working with young athletes primarily between 12-21 years old, which sets it apart in the community.
“We provide injury and activity-specific exercise for just one patient population, the growing and developing young athlete,” she said. “We try to do what we can here to motivate and keep them focused on the end goal rather than the fact they cannot play or participate in their sport right now.”
Akron Children’s sport rehab unit at Beeghly offers access to the new and emerging interventions in sports rehab, such as taping techniques, soft tissue mobilization, motion analysis, post-concussive rehabilitation and dry needling.
As for Cody, Erin expects more than a full recovery from his injuries.
“He had such an extensive injury, and he’s been amazing here,” she said. “He’s literally met every single thing we’ve thrown at him, which is good because he plays such a high-impact, high-contact sport and position. Not many athletes train the way we do here, so he could very well be stronger than he was before the injury.”
More than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The most common types of sport-related injuries in children are sprains (mostly ankle), muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries and repetitive motion injuries.
Akron Children’s pediatric sports rehabilitation program includes treatment for these injuries in addition to post-operative rehabilitation, post-injury conditioning, post-concussion rehabilitation and injury prevention. The unit is part of the Beeghly expansion, which will open open in Summer 2017.