Aquatic Therapy Expedites Recovery for Middle School Athlete

For 14-year-old Carson Kowalski, a soccer injury put a major halt to middle-school life as he knew it. In pain and forced to be non-weight bearing when not confined to a fracture boot or cast, he was no longer able to continue the season with his new soccer team. He missed out on months of skating, skiing, and bowling with friends and was unable to walk, run, wake board or golf. During a long-awaited trip to Washington, DC, he plodded along in a full cast using a scooter.

“When we first took Carson to the doctor after he got kicked hard in the ankle, they told us to just give it time,” remembers Anne Kowalski, Carson’s mom. “It wasn’t broken, just very swollen and bruised.” After following up with an orthopedic surgeon, the Kowalskis learned Carson suffered a ruptured posterior tibial tendon. From there he was immobilized in a fracture boot for several weeks, then a cast for about six weeks, and then back in a fracture boot.

“He was a very good athlete,” Anne says. “It was very disappointing. I did have the fear that Carson would not get back on the soccer field.”

All those months of uncertainty changed when she heard about the therapy pool at HealthSource. “Since then, we’ve come so far so fast,” she says.

When Carson arrived at HealthSource for outpatient therapy nearly six months after his injury, he could not walk. He spent the first several weeks exclusively in the pool with his therapist Brian. “I couldn’t put any weight on my foot when I came in,” Carson explains. “But when they raised the water up to my chest, I was perfect! I could walk and do everything again. Now we normally run 2 or 2.5 miles, and we do lots of activities like jumping side to side.”

Land therapy in the gym was soon added to his treatment plan – something Carson, Anne and Brian worked on together with specific goals. “Having those goals really helped him want to do his exercises at home as well,” Anne says. Now Carson and Brian work on balance, strength, and agility and track his improvements rocking on a ball, running ladders in the hallway, and performing other exercises.

“When I go to HealthSource, Brian greets me right away. I get changed and we’re already going,” Carson explains. “I’m just hoping to be able to play soccer again and get this injury over with.”

Anne says, “I can tell you that my son 100% enjoys coming to therapy at HealthSource. They really make it fun. We’ve gotten to know some of the other therapists and patients. It’s like we come here and hang out for an hour with our friends before we go home!

“I just cannot say enough about the pool,” she adds. “I really, truly feel that expedited his recovery!”