A torn ACL can be a daunting diagnosis for a devoted soccer player. But for Brett Tharp, this injury came as a blessing in disguise. "I've been playing soccer since I was five years old," says the 27-year-old Tharp.
"And I never stopped playing; I even did some volunteer coaching after college." Tharp's playing halted in September of last year, however, when he cut a corner too quickly during a soccer game. "My right knee just gave out," he recalls. "I had injured my left knee years before, so all I thought was, 'Oh great, now I have two bad knees.'"
Turns out his second "bad knee" was actually a torn ACL. Tharp went to see Paul Marchetto, MD, a sports medicine surgeon at the Rothman Institute, who performed ACL repair surgery. After two weeks of recovery, Tharp was able to start a rehabilitation program. "Dr. Marchetto was reassuring through the whole process," recalls Tharp. "I always had a set of eyes on me making sure I was doing OK. He kept me informed and also encouraged me to strengthen other parts of my body.
Now recovered, Tharp says he still plays pick-up soccer games, but he's discovered a new passion – coaching an under-10 boys' soccer team. "Sometimes I miss the thrill of playing competitively," he says, "but watching the boys I coach improve and have success is better than anything I've felt personally."