In November of 2015, my daughter Mikayla Coombs had a rough start to her basketball season. Mikayla is the number one basketball player in the state of Georgia and the sudden injury came as a surprise. Mikayla was playing in a tournament at Norcross High School and fell during the game. She was not in any pain after falling on the court so the athletic trainer checked her and said she could return to play. After getting back on the court to play, she fell again and was told that she had a lateral collateral ligament (LCL) strain. The next day we had an appointment to see the team doctor without having any testing done and it was confirmed that she had an ACL injury.
After the doctor’s visit we were sent to have an MRI taken of Mikayla’s leg. The results came back around thanksgiving and the news was not good. Mikayla had an ACL tear. At that point, as a mother of a great athlete, I had no clue of what I was going to do. I had tears in my eyes. Mikayla received an invite to the USA trial scheduled for June and was not able to attend because of her injury and scheduled surgery. However, Mikayla was never sad, nor did she complain.
I’ve always heard positive feedback in the community about sports medicine physicians at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and decided to make an appointment for Mikayla. Mikayla had a successful surgery with Spero Karas, MD on December 31st. 2015. Dr. Karas went above and beyond to help her. After Mikayla’s surgery, she was in minimal pain and hardly needed any of the medications prescribed. Surprisingly, Mikayla was also doing pushups, she was able to sleep and shower with no assistance. Two days later she had her follow-up appointment and she was able to walk into the clinic. She was determined and felt good enough to not have to use her crutches.
It has been an amazing journey. Mikayla got back on her own without a brace and everyone that knows Mikayla has been impressed with her speedy recovery time. Mikayla continues to go to physical therapy with The Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center and at her high school with an athletic trainer. She is doing wonderful and the good thing is that nothing has changed in terms of opportunities for my daughter and in athletics. Before she had multiple offers to UConn, Stanford, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, Penn State, Tennessee etc. , and now those offers are still coming in. Mikayla has a very small scar. It’s been a blessing and I cannot thank Dr. Karas enough. He was very adamant about not allowing Mikayla back on the court until she was in the correct stage of rehab and only allowed court privileges when appropriate. Dr. Karas treated her as if it were his own daughter that got injured.
Several of Mikayla’s team members have had surgery with other offices and compared to Mikayla’s small scar, it’s unbelievable. Mikayla often gets questions on whether or not, she really had surgery.
According to Mikayla “Everything happens for a reason and if Dr. Karas is taking care of any patient, they’ll be alright and are in good hands.”
Mikayla has won:
AJC 2A Player of the year
METRO ATLANTA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
REGION PLAYER OF THE YEAR
USA TODAY Georgia First Team
USA TRYOUTS INVITE
Thank you to Dr. Karas and the team at the Emory Orthopaedics, & Spine Center!
A note from Dr. Karas:
The surgery I performed on Mikayla was an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction using a hamstring tendon from the back of her thigh. The hamstring tendon is actually stronger than her native ACL, and has less risk of muscle atrophy and tendinitis in her knee. Rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction is lengthy, but most athletes are able to return to their sport approximately 9-12 months after surgery.
Since our last blog on Mikayla Combs, she signed a letter of intent to play for Gino Auriemma at Connecticut, a top basketball program in the country!
About Dr. Karas:
Dr. Karas joined the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center in 2005 as Director of the Emory Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. In addition to this role, he currently serves as the head team physician for the Atlanta Falcons, a consulting team physician for Georgia Tech University, Emory University, Oglethorpe University, Georgia Perimeter College, and St. Pius X High School. Prior to this, he served as chief of the Shoulder Service, team physician, and director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Orthopaedics.
Dr. Karas received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Indiana University School of Medicine. After medical school, he completed a residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Duke University Medical Center. After residency, Dr. Karas completed a Knee, Shoulder, and Sports Medicine Fellowship at the prestigious Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado. While in Colorado, he served as an Associate Team physician for the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies professional sports teams.
He is the author of more than 150 publications, presentations, and demonstrational videos. He has trained over 100 residents, fellows, and graduate students in subspecialty care of the shoulder, knee and sports medicine. His research has been published in numerous journals, including the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the Journal of Arthroscopy, the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery and the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma. Dr. Karas is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and has held leadership positions in numerous societies, including the American Orthopaedic Association, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, the Arthroscopy Association of North America and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
Dr. Karas is a recognized expert in the field of shoulder surgery, knee surgery, and sports medicine, and has been awarded numerous grants for research and product development. A frequent speaker throughout the United States and internationally, his work has been featured in Ski Magazine, Men’s Health, and on NBC, FOX, and CNN network television. He is also active in quality musculoskeletal research, and has been honored by his peers with nominations for numerous research awards. He actively collaborates with medical corporations by developing cutting-edge technology to improve the instruments and techniques in orthopedic surgery.
Dr. Karas was selected as one of America’s “Top Sports Medicine Specialists” in Men’s Health Magazine. He has also been named one of the “Top Sports Medicine Doctors for Women” by Women’s Health magazine, “Best Orthopaedic Surgeons in America” by Castle Connoly, and the most trusted sports specialist in Atlanta, Georgia by Atlanta Magazine. He is regularly listed in Atlanta Magazine’s Top Doctors. Dr. Karas is a full member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Society, a prestigious “invitation only” society with rigorous selection criteria.
A former collegiate athlete himself, Dr. Karas was a varsity letterman in wrestling at the University of Notre Dame. He continues to participate in sports such as golf, snowboarding, and fitness training. He also coaches little league sports, and is an active member of his church and community.
Dr. Karas and his wife, Johanna, are blessed with three very active and beautiful children – Gus, Elena, and Nicholas.