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Lucas’ story: Getting match fit again

Lucas on football pitch
11 February 2022

Here’s Lucas – back on the football pitch where he belongs.

This photo was taken nearly five months on from him suffering a painful knee injury following a bad tackle at a tournament at the England FA’s headquarters in Burton.

Swollen kneeLucas’ mum Sarah said: “First aiders attended to the injury initially but with Lucas’ dad being a physio, he knew we needed to get him to the Sheffield Children’s as he knew it was more than just a bump with the swelling that occurred, and Lucas was obviously in significant pain.”

Lucas was brought to Sheffield Children’s still in his Matlock Town Juniors kit and met one of our nurses for triage.

Sarah added: “Believe it or not, she was from Matlock! She was also our first positive experience in this traumatic tale because she was so friendly and sympathetic.” 

After being admitted, Lucas was seen by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr Nicolas Nicolaou who arranged physiotherapy support and an MRI scan. Thankfully Lucas’ injury wasn’t the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) Sarah had feared it was. Instead, it turned out that Lucas had badly injured his medial collateral ligament (MCL) – this is the ligament on the inside of the knee joint. He had also suffered an oedema, which is a swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in the body’s tissues due to severe bone bruising inside the knee. 

Sheffield Children’s is a specialist centre for knee injuries, and is one of just a few trusts to employ an Extended Scope Practitioner (ESP) for knees, Matt Denton.

Matt worked with Lucas and his family to gradually rebuild the strength in his legs while not irritating the injury further.

Matt said: “Essentially this was a bone bruise and soft tissue injury, and the first thing we needed to do was slow down and reduce the swelling. We also needed to work out exactly what it was that put his knee in this position – the tackle or how he landed.

Physio Matt and Lucas“After that you’re not treating a knee, you’re treating a person. Once the injury settles you can begin to push it harder. The end aim is to get Lucas back to what he was capable of prior to his injury, but with more knowledge about his body. Bones grow quickly at Lucas’ age and muscles need to learn to catch up.”

Lucas worked with the Physiotherapy team throughout his rehabilitation, but they also gave him exercises to try at home.

Sarah said: “Matt was fantastic at setting a programme for Lucas, sharing his specialist knowledge and drilling home the importance of complying with his home exercise programme.”

As a way of saying thank you to Matt and everyone else who helped care for Lucas, Sarah and her family fundraised for a snowflake which helped light up our sites over Christmas.

Sarah added: “I’d seen the appeal the year before and with the amount of care we’d received from the staff at Sheffield Children’s I felt we ought to contribute and give something back. I’d encourage any business to support this truly outstanding hospital. From the nurses, doctors and physios, to admin staff sorting out multiple appointments and the team in the MRI department – I can’t thank them enough.”

In total, The Children’s Hospital Charity’s much-loved snowflake display saw over £332,000 pledged to build a better future at Sheffield Children’s – a new record for us!

As we move further into 2022, Lucas’ future is looking brighter after making his comeback for Matlock Town Juniors recently.

Sarah and the family are really proud, she said: “Lucas has been through a traumatic experience; it was crushing for us all. But with the help and efforts of the Sheffield Children’s team, his dad and Lucas’ own fierce determination he returned to the football pitch where he received a round of applause from his teammates when he was brought on from the bench for his first game.

“Our house was absolutely electric on that Sunday morning and tears were shed but this time they were happy tears.

“The Sheffield Children’s is somewhere we’ve been coming to for years with various knocks and illnesses and the relief of having this service on our doorstep is immeasurable.”

Thank you sharing your story Lucas, we hope you enjoy being back on the pitch!

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