Written by Emily Janiga
“I have been playing hockey for as long as I have been able to walk, and it has become part of my identity. Writing from a standpoint of an athlete who has undergone two minor surgeries, I can honestly say that I have been fortunate enough to not encounter any severe or career-ending injuries over the past 20 years. In my situation, I was faced with two injuries on two separate occasions that left me needing surgery. The first of the two was discovered the summer entering my freshmen year of college. I remember receiving my MRI results and being devastated. I was going to need surgery in order to get rid of my hip pain. The pain was manageable, but when it began limiting and restricting me on and off the ice, I knew I had to make a change and seek assistance from a medical professional.
As an ice hockey athlete, my hips require high demands, which expose the joints to cartilage breakdown as well as other damage. The timing of the injury was hard for me to accept, solely because I was starting a new chapter of my career: NCAA Division I Ice Hockey. This has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, and I was starting off with an injury – and surgery. A former teammate’s mother recommend Dr. Brian McGrath and I was able to see him and his staff that summer. They helped me put together a plan for the coming season. With their help I was able to play my freshmen year at Mercyhurst University, with surgery following a few days after my last game of the season. During my post season I had labral hip scope surgery. Within four months, I was feeling better than ever. This was my first ever procedure, and Dr. McGrath and his staff made me feel comfortable and confident before, during, and after the procedure.
Having a successful surgery, I was feeling better than ever heading into my sophomore year. Unfortunately, that feeling lasted a few seasons before my other hip began affecting my game. Similar to the other hip, I had that same pain and the same MRI results. I was fortunate enough to have had a positive experience from UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, which allowed this injury to be managed in the most efficient way. After the last game of my senior year, I went back to Buffalo, where Dr. McGrath performed a similar procedure on my other hip. The second surgery had more damage than the former, which left me with a 6-month recovery – a long time for an athlete to stay away from the game they love. This surgery again developed at a time in my career where I was beginning a new chapter. In the fall after my senior year, I was blessed with the opportunity to move back home to Buffalo and play at a professional level (Buffalo Beauts: NWHL), which was made possible by Dr. McGrath and his staff.
The surgery and recovery went smoothly and I came back to hockey in September feeling revived and pain free. With Dr. McGrath’s help, I was able to pursue my career in hockey at the highest level. I cannot be more thankful for Dr. McGrath and his staff for the successful procedures and recoveries that allowed me to enhance my game, and continue my career farther than I ever imagined. Injuries are a part of athletics and can be a difficult concept for athletes to accept. Thank you Dr. McGrath and UBMD Ortho for a positive experience during my injuries, surgeries and recoveries.”