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ACL Injury: ABC4’s Surae Chinn’s Road to Recovery

Local News

MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Our ABC4 4 pm anchor Surae Chinn had reconstructive surgery after she tore her ACL in a skiing accident in January.

It is one of the most common injuries and most result in surgery.

Roughly 250,000 people injure their ACL a year. Surae brought viewers into the operating room back in March at Intermountain TOSH (the Orthopedic Surgery Hospital), in Murray.

Through the journey of rehab and surgery Surae learned a lot along the way of what it takes to get back on your feet in the road to recovery after a major surgery like this.

Surae takes us through the process as she goes through it herself taking to the experts and taking video diaries.

January 27th, Surae was at  Brighton Ski Resort. Her ski gets tangled with another skier getting off the lift. She says she felt that proverbial ‘pop’ in her knee and collapsed in pain. She was tobogganed down the slope. It would take a few weeks for major swelling to go down.

“Here’s where I am. I’ve seen two doctors who said that I didn’t tear my ACL. Then I went to the Injury Assessment office at TOSH and within a few seconds, Joe said I did tear my ACL. With this back and forth, I didn’t tear it, I did tear it. I wanted to have something definitive and got my MRI done and within that day they called me and said, sure enough, bad news, I did indeed tear my ACL.”

Your Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL runs diagonally in the middle of your knee and brings stability and allows the back and forth motion.

Surae met with her orthopedic surgeon Dr. Vern Cooley at TOSJ who would reconstruct her ACL using my own hamstring.

Fast forward to March 8th. 

“Alright, it’s surgery day. I’m a little bit nervous but I’m in good hands. This is the day and in a few hours I’ll be done and I’ll be on my road to recovery.”

Dr. Cooley’s team preps the room and Surae’s knee. Like a well-oiled machine, everyone knows their role and gets right to work.

He takes Surae’s hamstring that will be her new ACL. A physician assistant cleans and preps for Dr. Cooley to attach it to Surae’s knee.

Meanwhile, Intermountain Healthcare live tweets the process. In just 25 minutes Surae’s new ACL is in place.

“Now the hard work on my part begins. Not only am I learning about the long journey of recovery, but I’ve gained so much empathy for people who injure their leg and knee now that I’m part of a very popular club. Everyone seems to have a knee story or knows someone who does.”

This week we dive into what it takes to get back on your feet after an ACL surgery and who’s most at risk and how some can prevent this type of injury through technology.  


SYMPTOMS OF ACL INJURIES: 

  • A loud “pop” or a “popping” sensation in the knee
  • Severe pain and inability to continue activity
  • Rapid swelling
  • Loss of range of motion
  • A feeling of instability or “giving way” with weight bearing

CAUSE:

  • Changing direction rapidly
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Slowing down while running
  • Landing from a jump incorrectly
  • Direct contact or collision, such as a football tackle

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