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Sydnee-Anne Arthroscopic Labral Repair Story

Posted on: December 8th, 2022 by Our Team

Sydnee-Anne Moeller had a knack for catching, throwing, and cradling since she picked up her first lacrosse stick in sixth grade.

It started in her middle school physical education (PE) class, where students were encouraged to dabble into all sports and when they were on the brink of deciding their athletic aspirations.

“I played a lot of sports growing up, but none really clicked as much as lacrosse did,” said Moeller.

When Moeller returned from her first PE lacrosse class, she was exhilarated. Naturally, the next step was joining a recreational lacrosse team in her hometown El Segundo, California. While she admitted she didn’t initially know the rules of the game, she leaned into it and came out of her first practice even more captivated.

“I need goggles, a mouthguard, a stick,” said Moeller, excitedly recalling the remarks to her parents after practice.

Moeller’s passion for lacrosse was supported by her parents, who were always looking for the next tournament. She recalled, however, that playing the sport always felt like a personal choice.

“My passion for lacrosse was mine”, said Moeller. “It was never my parents; it wasn’t my friends. I was doing this because I wanted to do it,” she continued.

She progressed through middle school and high school not only playing the game, but also refereeing, coaching, and starting club teams. She became fluent in her position as a midfielder and in taking the draw. In the draw, two sticks come together to push the ball up, deciding the direction of the ball at the beginning of both halves and after every goal.

The Injury: Torn Shoulder Labrum

But with Moeller’s position also comes extensive contact with other players and pressure on the shoulders during the draw.

During her junior year of high school, she began experiencing popping sensations in her right shoulder.

“It went from smaller pops to larger pops, to full dislocations,” said Moeller.

She noticed that the pops and dislocations always occurred during the draw and moments of contact in the game. They happened so frequently that Moeller could almost predict their onsets.

It was around the same time that Moeller was also preparing to commit to the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) to continue her lacrosse career. She knew she had to address her condition so that she would be ready to play unhindered.

Treatment: Arthroscopic Labral Repair

Six months after the onset of the dislocations, Moeller found shoulder surgeon Dr. Frank Petrigliano who brought clarity to her condition. Dr. Petrigliano informed her that she had torn her labrum. He prescribed an arthroscopic labral repair, which uses a minimally invasive technique to clean up scar tissue and reattach the labrum to the bone.

Recovery

After the surgery, Moeller continued strengthening her shoulder with physical therapy for three months, improving her mobility and strength. With her recovery process showing promise, Dr. Petrigliano assured Moeller that she would be back on the field in time for the following lacrosse season–the last one of her high school career. And he was right.

Still, Moeller had visions of her shoulder reverting to its old ways after beginning the new season, afresh with a repaired shoulder.

“In the game, I would replay that moment in my head whenever I saw a girl coming into contact,” said Moeller. “It took me back and it was scary,” she continued.

While she started off games hesitant, she remembered the progress she had made in physical therapy and Dr. Petrigliano’s reassurances that she was safe and ready to play. She also wore a shoulder brace, which stabilized her shoulder and served as a security blanket for her qualms.

After a few games, she relinquished the brace and her visions of reinjury gradually disappeared. Moeller went on to be named California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) player of the year as a senior at El Segundo High School.

“I don’t replay those moments in my head anymore,” said Moeller. “I feel confident in my draw and coming into contact,” she continued.

Just a few months into playing college lacrosse at UCCS, Moeller’s skills have only improved, alongside her confidence in her shoulder’s strength.

“I am so thankful for the surgery,” said Moeller. “I feel so stable and strong in this shoulder now,” she continued.

Since the surgery, her visions of reinjury have instead been replaced with ones of successful plays and a long career of lacrosse ahead.


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