Recruited as a high school sophomore to play lacrosse at University of Notre Dame, Garrett Epple was playing his last regular season game as a senior at Calvert Hall High School when he took a hard fall on the shoulder of his dominant arm – the one with which he shoots and throws. The searing pain worried him that his college lacrosse career might be over before it had even begun.
Calvert Hall’s trainer, Chris Zinn, called the team doctor, orthopaedic surgeon Alvin Detterline, MD, of Towson Orthopaedic Associates and a clinical assistant professor of orthopaedics at University of Maryland School of Medicine, and drove Garrett and his parents straight to Dr. Detterline’s office.
“We were all very nervous,” says Garrett’s mom, Lisa.
ForceFul Injury Causes Tear
“It was a scary-looking injury,” Dr. Detterline says. “The end of the collarbone was protruding out very prominently.” An x-ray confirmed that Garrett had separated his shoulder.
“Shoulder separations are pretty common in football, lacrosse and other contact sports. Most of them are not as severe as Garrett’s,” the doctor says. “It takes a forceful injury to tear all the ligaments that stabilize the collarbone.” Although most shoulder separations involve sprains or slight tears that heal with therapy and rest, severely torn ligaments need surgery. Two days later, Garrett was in the operating room under the skillful hands of Dr. Detterline…