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Soccer after ACL Surgery

Dennis Machado
Semi-pro Soccer Player

It was a night game and raining lightly when Dennis Machado planted his foot while attempting to avoid a defender during one of his semi-pro soccer games. Dennis has been playing competitive soccer for decades. Yet that night, he felt a sudden sharp pain, heard a “pop” and knew he damaged his knee. It swelled immediately and he figured he might have torn a muscle, maybe injured a meniscus or minor ligament. But his diagnosis was much more serious – he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament, (ACL). He thought his playing days were over.

But Dennis, 32 at the time, couldn’t quite come to terms with the possibility that he might have to give up his favorite pastime. He met with three different doctors to see what could be done. One said he could patch Dennis back together but the procedure might have to be done again. Others told him he should stay off the field.

Then Dennis met with Raphael S.F. Longobardi, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and athletic injuries to the knee, shoulder and elbow. He is currently the Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Holy Name Medical Center.

“He told me he would do this once and that’s it – I wouldn’t need a second surgery,” Dennis said. “He relies on science and brought data to show me about the latest advances in these types of surgeries. He is well-informed on the best techniques and is willing to abandon the old when something new comes along to better help his patients.”

The ACL is one of the four main ligaments within the knee that connects the upper (femur) and lower (tibia) leg bones. It keeps the knee stable and is crucial for pivoting, jumping/landing and even changing direction correctly.

“Everything went so well – Dr. Longobardi made sure I understood what was happening and made me feel comfortable,” Dennis said.

Dennis had his surgery as an out-patient in August. He closely followed Dr. Longobardi’s specific ACL post-operative protocol. By November he was running five miles at a clip. In February started practicing soccer and never lost any game time when his season started in the spring. That injuring and surgery was three years ago. In 2017, Dennis continued to start for his team.

“Dr. Longobardi gives so much attention to detail,” Dennis said. “He did such a great job I’ve referred about 10 people to him.”

Dr. Longobardi offers unique office services:

  • A Creative tracking system for patient examination
  • Quick, confidential access to one's medical history
  • Digital X-Rays at the time of examination
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