Megan Hutson is one determined student-athlete. The Archbishop Hoban High School senior who “craves” competition has overcome not 1 – but 2 – season-ending injuries.
As a child, Megan’s parents never had to urge her to go outside and play. She could often be found at basketball, soccer, softball or track practice. She also liked to explore the woods and play in the yard with her siblings and neighbors.
In the spring of her freshman year, she tore the labrum in her left hip due to overuse and a pinching bone growth. The labrum is a ring of cartilage around the outer rim of the hip joint socket, which cushions the hip joint and helps to secure the thigh bone ball within the hip socket.
“It was the last practice before our first track meet,” Megan recalled. “While warming up, I had a sharp, deep pain in my hip. I went through physical therapy for 8 weeks, but ongoing pain led to an MRI that revealed the torn labrum. I underwent surgery to repair the tear and couldn’t put weight on my left leg for 6 week. I rehabbed for 6 months, which took me out of my sophomore soccer season and the first half of varsity basketball.”
Megan put in the work at physical therapy and at home. She returned to sports and felt stronger than ever. During the last preseason basketball scrimmage of her junior year, she landed awkwardly and heard an awful “popping” sound. The injury: a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus. “I was devastated to be out for yet another full season of basketball and track,” Megan said. “I geared up for another surgery and for an even longer, grueling 9 months of rehab.”
Dr. Joseph Congeni, medical director of Akron Children’s Sports Medicine Center, serves as the Hoban team physician. “Dr. Congeni made himself available to see Megan the morning after her ACL injury,” Megan’s mom, Pam, shared. “An ACL tear is a devastating injury for an athlete, especially so early in the season. Dr. Congeni helped take the sting out of the diagnosis with his care.”
With 2 major injuries, some athletes would’ve hung up their basketball sneakers and track cleats. But not Megan. “I was beyond determined to become an even better athlete than I was before my injuries,” she said. “I’m grateful for the support I received from my friends, family, coaches and teammates. My track coach reminded me that my injuries were only minor setbacks that set me up for great comebacks.”
While Megan recovered from her surgeries and went through physical therapy, she continued to support her teammates. She attended practices, basketball games and track meets – and even earned a varsity letter for her commitment to teamwork.
She also continued to excel in the classroom, enjoying math and physics homework. A member of Model United Nations at her school, she attended conferences around Ohio throughout the school year.
Megan’s parents were understandably nervous when she returned to sports. “I met 2 of her Akron Children’s physical therapists, and I felt confident she was in good hands,” Pam said. “With our concern of re-injury after Megan’s release to return to play, they worked with us to extend her therapy. That provided us with some peace of mind.”
Megan has not only learned life lessons from playing sports but from overcoming her injuries. “With the adversity I have faced the past few years, I have found myself to be a resilient and tenacious student-athlete and young woman,” she said. “I have discovered I possess an unwavering determination to be the best I can be.”