Caiden Hoff, 10, was playing soccer in gym class last October when a collision with a classmate caused a painful fall. He initially thought he twisted his ankle.
“Once the gym teacher pulled down my sock, I knew there was something wrong,” he said. “Next thing I knew there was a fireman and ambulance there, and I heard someone calling my mom.”
The fall caused a serious fracture of his tibia and fibula, the two primary bones in his lower left leg. His father, Scott Hoff, said the bone was within a quarter inch of poking through the skin.
“It was pretty gruesome,” Scott said.
He was taken to the Akron Children’s Hospital Beeghly campus emergency department where surgery was performed by Dr. Anthony Silverio, orthopedic surgeon, the next day. The procedure included inserting two nearly 6-inch rods in his bones for stability.
Round 1 of surgery included titanium rods for support
“His fracture was more unstable than most, and ultimately we felt it was the best option for him to place temporary flexible titanium rods to stabilize the bones and give him the best outlook for recovery,” Dr. Silverio said.
Twice-a-week physical therapy followed. Although Caiden didn’t like the pain involved in rehabbing the surgically repaired leg, he was determined to be able to play baseball in the spring.
“Dr. Silverio initially said baseball might be out of the question, but when they kept pushing back the season because of coronavirus it made it a little more likely,” Scott said.
Baseball season was not lost
Caiden indeed made it for what turned out to be a June start to baseball season in his Boardman community league. Normally they start in April.
“He loves baseball and was ready to just be a kid again, to be able to do the things we’d been restricting him from,” Scott said.
Caiden returned to Akron Children’s this month to have the rods removed. Having grown three inches since the injury has added some discomfort with them.
“He took every step of the healing process in stride,” Dr. Silverio said. “Caiden’s story will help other kids and parents realize that there will be better days ahead for children who experience a similar serious injury. Things will get better.”
Coronavirus safety measures comforted parents
Both parents were comforted by the extra measures Akron Children’s has taken to protect patients and visitors considering the coronavirus. Scott said there was no hesitation to bring Caiden back to have the rods removed.
“It’s a difficult time because information changes daily, sometimes hourly,” Dr. Silverio said. “People can feel confident that Akron Children’s is making our facilities as safe and comfortable for families that we can.”
Caiden is in his final stage of recovery now. There are a few small holes in his bones from the rods that will take a little time to fill back in and heal, but Dr. Silverio said he has no restrictions and can go about his life like any 10-year-old.
For Caiden, that means joining a basketball team this winter and continuing his baseball training in the offseason. If the pandemic allows, that is.