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Avera Medical Minute: Athlete returns to competition after dislocating elbow

 Isabella Portz returns to gymnastics after dislocating her elbow
Isabella Portz returns to gymnastics after dislocating her elbow (KSFY)
Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 7:27 PM CDT
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Isabella Portz knows her way around a gymnastics studio.

"I just love the feeling of like, being able to like use my muscles and just fly," said Portz.

For now, though, she's cheering on her team from the sidelines while she recovers from an injury last fall.

"I overshot my bar release, and I just landed wrong on my elbow," said Portz.

Her athletic trainer at Brookings High school, Erik Curry, was at the meet when she dislocated her elbow.

"She was doing her release on bars and missed the pad, with her arm outstretched, so when the coaches yelled my name so I turned around and looked and Izzy being super calm, so I just saw her holding her arm. And I'm like okay, so just you know normal injuries just kind of fell. Then as I started to walk over there the manager, he's like, you should probably hurry up, and then I'm like okay, all right," said Curry.

Erik is part of the team working to get Isabella back into competition. Avera Physical Therapist Chuck McCullough is helping too.

"When a person like Izzy comes in, and I get the chance to work with her, I see potential. I see an athlete who's going to get back to full sport. I know she will get there because she's putting the work in," said McCullough.

"Being able to come here, just really is exciting to be able to eventually go back to what I love."

"After Avera Orthopedics made sure that, you know, the joint was stable and ready to start rehabilitation, primarily to work on range of motion," said McCullough.

And she's just about there.

"I'm pretty sure the other arm is negative ten and so I know her injury arm is at five degrees, so kind of getting the last little degrees. We're actually making good progress and she's a hard worker and so now she's doing stuff at home and all that," said Curry.

Her parents have been a huge support in cheering her on at meets, comforting her while she heals, and making sure she gets to her appointments.

"Keep the arm moving. We want her family to know exactly what needs to be done, so we can get her back to full-sport, as soon as possible," said McCullough.

And Isabella envisions that day she'll be competing again.

"Being able to walk in the gym back in a 'leo' again and like actually be able to do stuff and not be sitting on the sidelines and actually be able to do what I love," said Portz.

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