Avera Medical Minute: Aberdeen teenager returns to soccer after ACL surgery

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (DAKOTA NEWS NOW) - Being an athlete is more than the joy of the sport. Aberdeen Central High School student Jaiden Lyke says being on the soccer field is one of her favorite things. "Everyone I play with, we're all like best friends so that makes it even better. And the adrenaline I think that makes it so amazing," said Lyke.

Jaiden Lyke recovers from ACL injury

Her injury put a stop to everything. "I heard like a crack almost and a pop and then I went down," said Lyke. She hobbled off the field on crutches and went straight to the clinic for an MRI.

Jaiden had an ACL and meniscus tear. "So in Jaiden's case, she injured this ligament right here, completely torn, no longer attached. Without that ligament that knee was going to pivot and shift," said Dr. Fites.

Knowing she wanted to get back into the game, Dr. Brandon Fites devised a plan. "You have to recommend that we reconstruct that ACL using her own tissue to remake her ligament," said Dr. Fites.

A portion of Jaiden's hamstring was used for the reparative procedure. That was phase one of the plan. "The patient moves on into therapy. They spend about three months with a therapist and then they move into the Avera strength and conditioning program which is run by the trainers," said Dr. Fites.

Training is under the guidance of Jake Arechigo at the Avera Human Performance Center in Aberdeen. "We do plyometrics, which is a jumping exercise that we use, we also do treadmill. We have a super treadmill. That is the name of it, super treadmill, goes up to 30 miles per hour as well as 45 percent incline. We'll do forward running, back peddling and even shuffling on the treadmill, as well as a training program based on their sport," said Arechigo.

She's come a long way from the day she was injured. "I'll do these, fit lights, where it's focused on like my cutting, and moving, and all that," said Lyke.

Getting over the mental hurdle is important. "Confidence is probably one of the biggest challenges that we work with, with a lot of the athletes that come in," said Arechigo.

And they work on ways to keep from being injured again.

"We got Jaiden cleared in under nine months, so really exciting," said Arechigo.

She's back in the game and says if you're on the sidelines, your hard work could pay off. "Even if you don't think you can get back to your old self, you always can. Just do what you love and don't let people stop you," said Lyke.