Jackie’s ACL surgery 14 years ago got her across an Ironman finish line

Posted on: September 18th, 2013 by Ortho Illinois

The goal was simple: to complete the 2010 Austin, Texas Longhorn 70.3 Ironman in six to seven hours.   The time wouldn’t set any records, but just the idea of entering an Ironman competition may have seemed ludicrous to Jackie Mohr fourteen years ago when she injured her knee in a downhill ski accident.In 1996, Jackie sought the care of orthopedic surgeon Michael Chmell, MD at Rockford Orthopedic Associates and successfully underwent surgery to reconstruct her ACL using the patellar tendon.   At the time of her injury Jackie was athletic and very active.  She worked out regularly and was an instructor at Bally Total Fitness in Rockford, so how her life would be impacted was of serious concern.

“If my injury hadn’t been taken care of right away and properly it would have changed my life,” Mohr reflected.  She credits Dr. Chmell and the care she received for enabling her to become the person she is now.  After completing her post-surgical therapy, Mohr not only resumed a normal life-style, but had two children and subsequently moved to Austin, Texas where her physical activity is super-charged.

Now 38, Mohr is a personal trainer and leads ten to fifteen spinning, kick-boxing and boot-camp fitness classes a week.   She has participated in numerous triathlons, marathons, and running and biking races of all kind.   “I train for one to three hours each day, and have even won several triathlons in my age group,” Mohr explained.  “I see others in my age group and their fitness seems to be decreasing while I continue to get stronger.  I never experience pain in my knee, and it is never a thought in my daily training.”

According to Chmell, ACL reconstruction is a common surgery offering very positive results.  “When a patient is athletic and in good physical condition, as was Jackie at the time of her injury, it is typical to experience excellent results,” he explained.  “I am very excited to hear how much Jackie has been able to accomplish since the surgery.”

Mohr ramped up training even further in preparation for the October 16th Longhorn 70.3 Ironman.

[quote]“I was amazed at my body’s ability to keep going.  My muscles got sore, my hips sometimes ached, and my lower back got a little stiff from all the bike riding, but my knee never bothered me.” – Jackie Mohr[/quote]

“I train clients who have had the same injury and repair and most are never the same.  Their knee is always a limiting factor … not in my case!”

Mohr succeeded in her goal. Under sunny skies and 80 degree temperatures she finished the 1.93 kms swim, 90.12 kms bike, and 21.08 kms in six hours and 34 minutes.

A major accomplishment such as this has been cause for introspection.  Mohr noted “I was so lucky Dr. Chmell was my surgeon,” concluding, “his skilled hands and expertise made a huge difference in my life.  I continue to run, bike, swim, and lead the active lifestyle I love because of him.”

Michael Chmell, MD received his medical degree from the University of Chicago Medical School and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Vanderbilt University.  He completed additional sub-specialty orthopedic training through a Fellowship program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/ Harvard University Medical School.  His practice at Rockford Orthopedic is focused on primary and revision knee replacement.

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