Knee Injury During Squash Match Does Not Keep College President Down

Knee Injury During Squash Match Does Not Keep College President Down

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Margee Ensign underwent successful arthroscopic surgery at MedStar Health.

Dickinson College President Margee Ensign, PhD, was in a heated match with the men’s and women’s squash coach last November—and winning by a score of 9 to 4—when she heard a pop and fell to the court. Collegiate players on the team who were watching the college administrator beat their coach immediately came to help.

The Carlisle, Pa., resident knew immediately that something was wrong with her left leg and sought care from a local physician who diagnosed her with a hamstring injury. He recommended rest and strengthening exercises.

“I’ve never had a sports injury before so I thought it would heal. But it never did,” says Dr. Ensign.

As the holidays neared, Dr. Ensign knew she needed a second opinion. Her role as a college president frequently brings her to Washington, D.C., for meetings, and she had driven by MedStar Health at Lafayette Centre. After further research, she contacted Melissa Yadao, MD, a board certified, fellowship-trained, sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at MedStar Health.

“She was incredibly responsive,” recalls Dr. Ensign, who first met Dr. Yadao on Dec. 23, 2019, and had an MRI of her left knee the next day. “She told me she would call me over the holidays when she knew the results, and sure enough, she called me as soon as she knew.”The MRI revealed Dr. Ensign had suffered a posterior root tear of her lateral meniscus. The root anchors the meniscus to middle of the knee. Left untreated, this type of tear often renders the meniscus unstable. Dr. Yadao recommended surgery.

Melissa Yadao

“A root tear is very special tear,” says Dr. Yadao. “Regardless of age, it is almost always worth fixing. I have taken care of these in both athletes and non-athletes, and it’s one of those tears that if you can fix it, you really help the patient.”

On Jan. 16, Dr. Ensign underwent outpatient arthroscopic surgery at a surgery center and returned home with instructions to be non-weight bearing for four weeks. She also started physical therapy with MedStar Physical Therapist Lauren Carruthers, DPT, to work on range of motion and quadriceps strengthening.

“The first weeks post-surgery were challenging,” says Dr. Ensign. “I was on crutches for a while, and attended physical therapy both in person and then virtually due to COVID-19. Carruthers is the most amazing therapist and has been truly instrumental in my recovery.”

Dr. Yadao was impressed with Dr. Ensign’s rapid progress. “What she was able to do in the first month was amazing,” she says.

Dr. Yadao also notes the seamless coordination in Dr. Ensign’s care. “From her initial appointment, to scheduling the MRI and then surgery, and eventually starting physical therapy, we were able to get everything taken care of very quickly,” she says.

That was exactly what Dr. Ensign, who frequently travels for work, needed. She credits Dr. Yadao for the quality of her surgical care. “She is thorough, thoughtful, and caring,” says Dr. Ensign.

Dr. Yadao believes Dr. Ensign will make a full recovery. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she is out there hitting balls before the end of the year."

Dr. Ensign looks forward to resuming her beloved game of squash. “I will play again,” she says, “and I will finish that game and beat our coach.”

To make an appointment with one of our MedStar Orthopaedic Institute surgeons, call 888-906-7361.

“A (meniscal) root tear is a very special tear. Regardless of age, it is almost always worth fixing. I have taken care of these in both athletes and non-athletes, and it's one of those tears that if you fix it, you can really help the patient.”


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