Katie O'Rourke

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University of Vermont junior Katie O'Rourke, 20, remembers the day well.

She and her teammates on the UVM Women's Rugby Club were running a practice drill when she pivoted and injured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

"I heard a big pop in my knee and then I was rolling around on the indoor turf. It was so painful. I was on the ground and screaming."

After a week or two of rest and physical therapy, Katie was referred to James Slauterbeck, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

She had heard of Dr. Slauterbeck's expertise with athletes and ACL injuries. "It was a comfort to know I was in good hands,"she said.

Katie decided to have ACL reconstruction surgery. During the procedure, Dr. Slauterbeck repaired Katie's ACL, using the tendon of the kneecap to replace the damaged ligament.

The surgery was a success. Katie was pleased with the care she received and the attention and kindness of the Fletcher Allen staff that cared for her.

Eight months later, Katie, the rugby club's president, is recovering well and building up strength in her knee. She spends a lot of time on the rugby pitch, where she is now able to run, kick and jump without pain.

It's a great accomplishment - and one that makes this young athlete determined to get back to doing what she loves: playing the game.