Sports Medicine Patient Stories :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Patient Stories

At Nationwide Children's Sports Medicine, we realize that athletes have specialized concerns – they want to get better and get back in the game. That's why we want you to meet some of our patients – they've been down the road to recovery and want to share their successes with you.

Cole Mathias

In the fall of 2015, Cole won the Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine Comeback Kid Award, which celebrates the accomplishments of an athlete that was injured and made great strides in recovery.

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Cole suffered a torn ACL, MCL and Meniscus in August 2014. He missed all of football and soccer seasons his junior year. Cole had surgery in September 2014, followed by months of Sports and Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Functional Rehabilitation. He returned healthy and better than ever to soccer and football for his senior year. In soccer, Cole scored 10 goals and is credited with 4 assists. He was named 1st team All-OCC and played in the Division 1 All Star Game. In football, Cole scored 49 points as a kicker and had 1,450 punting yards and was named 2nd team All-OCC.


Patrick Jansen

A blow to the knee in the final seconds of a wrestling match had 16-year old Patrick Jansen worried that his football playing and wrestling days were over. Then, Nationwide Children’s sports medicine experts stepped in to help Patrick make the kind of comeback he was hoping for.

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Patrick Jansen will tell you he is always on the move. Canoeing, biking, wrestling, football – if the activity is outside and requires great physical strength and endurance – Patrick has probably done it.

But a fateful hit to his right knee during a wrestling match had Patrick wondering if those days were over.

“My knee was back and bent when my opponent took me down. The pain was like nothing I had ever felt,” says Patrick. “The team athletic trainer thought it was probably a strain, but I just knew it was way worse than that.”

Patrick’s fears were confirmed when he was referred to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and an MRI revealed his meniscus and ACL were torn. Patrick was referred to Dr. Kevin Klingele, chief of orthopedic surgery and sports medicine surgical director at Nationwide Children’s, who explained in detail about how the position of Patrick’s knee led to his specific injury.

“Dr. Klingele showed me exactly why my knee tore like it did, and explained how the surgery would help repair the injury. He made everything easy to understand,” said Patrick. “Even though I knew that the surgery had to be done, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to return to my full pre-injury ability.”

Patrick is known for being one of the fastest linemen on the football team, and he was determined to not just make a comeback from surgery and play the first game of the next football season – but to be even faster than before. Two weeks after the surgery, Patrick was still hobbling painfully around in a knee brace and crutches and full recovery seemed like a faraway dream.

Supported by the expertise and enthusiasm of the sports medicine therapists, Patrick committed himself to months of an intensive program of stretching and strength training. And the commitment paid off. Just weeks before the football season of his junior year began, and Patrick was only seconds off from his pre-injury speed in the 40-yard dash.

“Getting stronger was a slow process, but the sports and orthopedic therapists helped me keep a positive attitude. I was determined not only to heal, but heal stronger. Now I feel like my goals of playing football and wrestling in college are very achievable,” says Patrick.


Rodney Tucker

When high school athlete Rodney Tucker had to be carried off the field during a football game, he and his family turned to the sports medicine experts at Nationwide Children’s to keep his dreams of playing college sports alive.

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Since age one, Rodney Tucker has had some kind of ball in his hands. Not content with just excelling at a single sport, by the time Rodney was a sophomore at Canal Winchester High School – he was playing wide receiver for the football team and looking forward to switching over to point guard once basketball season started.

But a game early in football season changed those plans. As Rodney cut sharply across the field to catch a kick-off ball, his knee suddenly popped out of place.

“I fell to the ground screaming. I knew something seriously wrong had happened,” recalls Rodney.

Up in the stands, his mother Lori watched in worried suspense as the team’s coaches streamed on the field to where her son was lying on the ground. Her concerns grew when Rodney had to be carried off the field by his father.

Luckily, Dr. Eric Bowman, a Nationwide Children’s sports medicine physician was right there. As the team’s physician, Dr. Bowman immediately examined Rodney’s knee, suspecting it might be a torn ACL. Before the second quarter, Dr. Bowman had scheduled Rodney for an appointment at the Sports Medicine Clinic the following Monday morning.

An MRI revealed that Rodney had torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL). Surgery was scheduled for a month later to allow some of the swelling to subside – and to give Rodney a chance to strengthen the knee through gentle exercises. Rodney also wore a brace and attended homecoming on crutches.

After the two hour surgery, Rodney dedicated the next 10 months to healing his knee with the help of a specialized sports medicine physical therapy team at Nationwide Children’s. The exercises and training were specifically geared to a high performance athlete like Rodney.

Basketball season was out, but as Rodney cheered on his team from the courtside bench, he kept a bigger goal in mind.

 “I wanted to get strong. And stay strong,” said Rodney. “I decided that I would work on rehabilitating my knee, skip football season and return to playing basketball my junior year with same ability and performance level before the injury.”


Aubrey Beck, 17

Aubrey Beck is a warrior. Not because she was a star athlete on Westerville High’s Lady Warriors basketball and track teams. Aubrey is a warrior because with the help of experts at Nationwide Children’s, she has bravely fought her way back from brain cancer to pursue dreams both on and off the court.

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At first, 15-year old track and basketball star Aubrey Beck noticed her balance and “game” were a bit off.  Then the tremors, headaches and nausea started. One summer night, just weeks before the start of school, Aubrey was so sick that her mother took her to the Nationwide Children’s Emergency Room. There, doctors discovered a tumor the size of a tennis ball in Aubrey’s brain.

The tumor was a medullablastoma, the most common type of pediatric brain tumor. Medullablastomas grow rapidly, and can spread cancer cells to other parts of the body. Aubrey needed several treatments to reduce the chance of the disease growing further.

“My life had always been about family and sports. So when they told me I’d need surgery and treatment I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to school or play sports. I knew my life would never be the same, but I was determined to play again,” says Aubrey, whose sparkling brown eyes and unwavering smile tell the story of a girl who will never give up easily.

Aubrey underwent surgery, six months of radiation and nine months of chemotherapy. During therapy she often felt sick, exhausted and had trouble walking. She wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to play sports again.

The oncology team at Nationwide Children’s worked closely with the sports medicine experts to help Audrey get back on her feet again.  As part of her rehabilitation, Aubrey participated in Play Strong, a  wellness program for cancer survivors and others at Nationwide Children’s. The program takes kids through a physical therapy routine that improves motor skills, muscle strength and balance so kids can transition into physical activity safely.

Aubrey’s friends and family rallied around her, creating an Aubrey’s Angels Facebook page and selling bracelets bearing her jersey number 35. Through the Play Strong program, Aubrey began to regain balance and endurance. But she came to realize that she would probably never recover the same level of athletic ability she had before the tumor.

“I felt like God had betrayed me and let me down. But my pastor helped me realize that this is all part of a bigger plan,” says Aubrey. “Then I knew God was actually on my side, and would give me the strength I needed to get through the bad days. It was not the outcome that I wanted but I realized it was the right outcome.”

Now, something else was growing inside of Aubrey – a curiosity and passion for pediatric medicine. With new sights set on going to medical school, the Make a Wish Foundation gave Aubrey the chance to spend the day on set with the “The Dr. Oz Show,” assisting Dr. Mehmet Oz on camera and getting a chance to touch a real heart and brain, and tour an oversized digestive system. It seemed like an amazing dream for a girl who had been diagnosed with brain cancer.

“I’m just so thankful that it was Nationwide Children’s that we went to. It was the best decision I ever made, and I think it saved Aubrey’s life,” says mom, Jacie.

After a recent head scan revealed the cancer was gone, Aubrey’s family celebrated with a trip to Jamaica. Aubrey is focusing on applying for colleges with good pre-med programs – and a really strong intramural sports program. Despite experiencing ongoing side effects from her treatments, her father Larry says she’s still very much “in the game.”

“Her battle isn’t over yet. But she’s a fighter, not a quitter.”


Miranda Haney

You could say that dancing is in Miranda Haney’s blood. The daughter of a professional dancer, 10-year old Miranda has been spinning, leaping and pirouetting since she could walk. When a nagging knee pain had her questioning if she would be able to follow in her mother’s footsteps, Miranda found the answers she was looking for from the sports medicine team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

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Miranda Haney has spent much of her life in a dance studio. If she wasn’t watching her mother, Kelley, a former professional dancer who opened her own studio to teach – Miranda was dancing with her mother, matching her step for step.

By age 10, Miranda had already performed in local productions of Annie, the Wizard of Oz and many other theater programs.  She spent an average of 20 hours a week studying ballet, jazz and contemporary dance and a variety of other styles – setting her sights on a future dancing career.

One day, Miranda noticed a dull pain circling both her kneecaps, but she just kept dancing through it. Her mother knew all about dance injuries, but figured it would be something that might go away after a few weeks. However, the pain gradually worsened over several months, and didn’t respond to treatment with ice.

“Miranda has a very high tolerance for pain and she’s very driven. When she finally said that the pain was interrupting her focus and making it hard for her to jump, I knew we were probably dealing with something more serious,” says Kelley.

Miranda’s mother was right. But she also knew what to do about it. As the studio owner and lead teacher, Kelley regularly brought in sports medicine experts from Nationwide Children’s to teach her students about proper stretching and common dance injuries.

Examining Miranda at the studio, the therapist agreed that Miranda should see a physician as soon as possible. At her appointment, the doctor found two small bony lumps under the bottom edges of Miranda’s kneecaps – confirming the diagnosis of patellofemoral syndrome – a painful condition caused by repeated stress to the knee. Physicians also found that the long bands of supporting tissue that extended from Miranda’s hips to her knees were very tight, leading to increased pressure on her knees.

Luckily, the condition does not require surgery – but a consistent physical therapy program and bandaging to reinforce the knees. The therapist showed Miranda how to wrap her knees with a special type of tape to keep her bones stable, ways to stretch out her hip muscles, and how to do other exercises to help her knees heal.

“The therapists were so good. They explained everything to me in a way that a kid my age would understand. I sat out a few classes, but started to improve pretty quickly,” says Miranda.


Soon, Miranda was back to jumping and leaping in class just as she had done before. The injury could reoccur, so Miranda will be following the sports therapist’s regimen for many years. She will be at greater risk for getting the knee injury again as she grows, but Miranda and her mom aren’t too worried.

“The sports medicine therapists at Nationwide Children’s are so amazing and patient with the kids. The relationship that Miranda has with them is built on teamwork and trust,” says Kelley.  “We will be with them for a long time to keep Miranda safe and dancing.”

For Miranda, it’s even simpler.

“Now I can leap just as high as my friends again, and I can’t wait to jump even higher.”


Kayla Start

In 2010, I joined weight watchers and lost close to 40 pounds. But, I still needed to know how to fuel my body correctly for the amount of competition and training I do, and also to help me get one step closer to achieving future goals. I would have an upset stomach during and after every race/ride, and my energy levels were down - but I couldn’t figure out why.

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Kayla Start on BikesIssues were causing me to not be able compete at the level I was training for. I reached out to my family doctor, Dr. David Scoggin, and he directed me to Jessica Buschmann, who is a Sports Nutritionist at Children’s. After one meeting with her, my stomach pain went away and I started to do better at my races. We had a follow up meeting and talked about muscle cramping; my cramping has decreased to almost zero. After two appointments, I can tell a huge difference, as well as my family, friends, coach and competitors. I have learned so much working with Jessica and I look forward to what we will accomplish down the road.

  • Birthday: June 28, 1991
  • Favorite Food: Grilled Chicken
  • Siblings: Two younger brothers
  • Hometown: Lancaster, Ohio
  • Favorite Sport: Cycling
  • Favorite Sports Team: Trek Mountain Bike Team or LIV Mountain Bike Team
  • Sports you play and how long: I am a competitive cyclist who races every weekend. I have been riding since I was 9, but started racing seriously in 2012/2013.
  • How you became interested in your sport: I was terrible at every sport I tried growing up and my Papaw decided to take me on a bike ride. He taught me how to shift gears and use the brakes. We went on to doing GOBA (an annual week-long bike trip) in 2003, and we haven’t missed a year yet. I got a job in a bike shop in 2009 and wanted to get a “fast” bike. My dad told me if I started racing, I could. I now have a coach and travel over the United States to race.

Adam Snyder

I first met Kelsey McGuff in July of 2013 when she became the new athletic trainer at Liberty Union High School. On October 4, 2013 we were scheduled to play a regular season football game against a new league rival. The game quickly became violent and throughout the game I took several vicious hits. At the end of the game, we shook hands with the other team and returned to the locker room to get changed into our street clothes to celebrate the victory. This, however, would not be the case for me that night. I took two steps into the locker room and collapsed onto the floor. My hands started to seize up and feeling throughout my body was starting to go away. Kelsey had known something was wrong with me by the way I was acting throughout the game.

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 During the event she continually monitored me; when I fell she was right there. Kelsey talked to me like a friend that night, walking me through each step of what was going on and what was going to happen next.

I was taken by ambulance to the emergency room at Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s to be evaluated. When all of the tests were done, I was diagnosed with a concussion. Once friends and family members were permitted into my room, to my surprise there was Kelsey at the end of my hospital bed. If I am not mistaken, not every Athletic Trainer would drive 45 minutes to see how their athlete was doing. From this point on, I knew that Kelsey had my back through anything.

After my concussion, I knew that no matter what I could count on and trust Kelsey. For someone to take time and drive that far to see someone means a great deal to me, and I am sure many more people feel this way. Kelsey is an astonishing, incredible, and spectacular athletic trainer that is devoted to her job. I know every athlete at our school that has either spoken or worked with Kelsey is impressed with her skill sets and her caring nature for all of us student athletes. I am grateful to have an Athletic Trainer like Kelsey McGuff to have my back in any situation!

Adam Snyder, 17
Liberty Union High School  


Alexis Butterbaugh

A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with scoliosis and was sent to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for further evaluation. Nationwide Children’s staff treated me nicely and explained my situation to my mom and I. They showed us where my curve was located and told me that it should not affect my daily life. My scoliosis hasn't prevented me from playing the sports I love. I play goalie for my soccer team and run track and cross country. Because of my scoliosis, I occasionally have issues with my back being tight and sometimes doing goalie dives along with the running irritate the muscles in my back. With the assistance of Nationwide Children’s athletic trainer, Aaron Barber, I can stay at the top of my game.

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Aaron helps me with exercises to keep the muscles in my back loose and strong. Just recently, I had some soreness in my back on the vertebra. Aaron suggested we have an x-ray to make sure nothing was fractured or changed with the curve of my spine. He set everything up for me to see Dr. Bowman at Nationwide Children’s Close to Home facility.

Dr. Bowman received my x-rays and compared them to previous x-rays to see if there was a change with my scoliosis or a new issue. He determined that my back was out of line and made some adjustments. I felt better right away. He clearly explained the issues, and what he had done. He talked to me about stretches I could do to help with tightness and how important core exercises were for me. Dr. Bowman sent Aaron a report so he would know about my treatment and what to do to assist me to stay healthy.

I have had some other injuries associated with playing sports. Each time I’ve been to Nationwide Children’s the staff has been very helpful. The doctors and staff have shown care and have provided the needed assistance to help get me back to playing the sports I love quickly and safely.

Alexis Butterbaugh, 16
Amanda Clearcreek High School  


Alli King

Alli King has a history of knee injuries that she has been seen for at Nationwide Children's, including 2 previous ACL tears an MCL tear, and meniscal damage, all which have happened throughout her high school basketball career. She has been through rehab for these injuries over the last 3 years. She has worked with Athletic Trainers in Functional Rehab as well as our Sports Medicine physician Dr. Fischer, and her high school Athletic Trainers.

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Recently, Alli injured her L knee for the second time. She has since been working in the Athletic Training room to strengthen her musculature and maintain range of motion. She plans to have surgery in the spring. Until then she is looking forward to cheering her team on and helping them win tournament games.

Alli says, “The Athletic Trainer at Reynoldsburg High School, Regina Hunter, as well as the Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine Staff, have supported me with my injuries, both physically and mentally.”


Sherice Kelley

Sherice Kelley is a junior girls basketball player at Reynoldsburg High School. On 9/16/2013, she landed awkwardly after a rebound and experienced sharp pain in her hip and leg. She was diagnosed with a posterior acetabular wall fracture on 9/25/2013 by Dr. Cuff, and had a surgical repair done by Dr. Klingele on 10/1/2013.

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She began physical therapy on 11/22/2013, and has since been receiving treatment in the Athletic Training Room while slowly being returned to participation in basketball. She began jogging the week of 2/3/2014, and has been improving every day.

Sherice says, “When I needed help, Nationwide Children’s Athletic Trainer, Regina Hunter, and Sports Medicine Team were there right away”


Jarrod Gilliam

Jarrod’s injury began during lacrosse season his Freshman year. We believe he strained his hamstring because not only was he playing lacrosse, but he was also lifting and participating in open gyms for basketball. When lacrosse season ended, we assumed it would get better with a couple weeks of rest.

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When he was still having pain, Jarrod began to worry, as he was leaving for basketball camp in a few weeks. We scheduled an appointment at Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine, where he began functional rehab with Kerry Waple. She worked with him and was able to get him to where he could go to camp and participate. He had a slight set back during summer league, but he kept working with Kerry at Nationwide Children’s and it got better. Jarrod was able to go on and have a successful football season and is currently in basketball season with no pain in his hamstring. It is important to him that he stays healthy, as he is heading to Florida on spring break with his lacrosse team.

The most difficult part of all of this is being patient. It works, it just takes some time. Your child wants to hurry up and get back in the game, but don’t rush it. In the long run, it is worth it. Explain to your child that if you try to go back too soon, you could do more damage and be out even longer.

  • Birthday: 8/25/95
  • Favorite Food: Fettuccini
  • Siblings: Kyle – 13
  • Hometown: Lewis Center
  • Favorite Sport: Lacrosse
  • Favorite Athlete: Craig Krenzel
  • Favorite Sports Team: Buckeyes
  • Sports you play: Football, Basketball, Lacrosse
  • How you got interested in sports: playing since childhood

Chris Skaggs

During the third week of my 2009 varsity football season I received a pretty sever concussion. Playing wide receiver I was blindsided by a strong safety and was hit helmet to helmet. I had excruciating headaches, loss of sleep, increased irritability, nausea and sensitivity to light and noise for over a week following the hit.

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No one knew exactly how long I would be out for. I was told that it could be anywhere from two weeks up to the rest of the season! The hardest part of the entire ordeal was seeing my starting spot be taken and not knowing if I would ever get it back.

The best advice I could give someone going through a concussion injury is to listen to your doctors and don’t try to be “tough” and come back too soon. You only get one brain, don’t take it for granted.

  • Birthday: October 25, 1992
  • Favorite food: Slushies from Speedway
  • Siblings: Andrew (21)
  • Hometown: Pataskala, Ohio
  • Favorite sport: Baseball
  • Favorite athlete: Tim Lincecum
  • Favorite sports team: New York Yankees
  • Sports I play: Football (9 years), Baseball (11 years), Basketball (9 years)
  • How I got interested:
    • Football – I used to watch my brother play and I wanted be like him.
    • Baseball – I went to a Columbus Clippers game as a young kid and thought it as the coolest thing I had ever seen.
    • Basketball – I used to have a hoop in my driveway and would just shoot for hours at a time.

Chris Skaggs' Story submitted by his parents, Hunter and Melissa Skaggs

It was just another Friday night football game against what we would consider a rival in our town. Chris had been playing well on both offense and defense. It was the fourth quarter, so as a parent you’re beginning to breathe again as the game is coming to a close. You have to remember though; it’s not over till it’s over. WHAM! Helmet to helmet hit while going for a low passed ball as a receiver.

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The defender had taken him out and Chris never knew what hit him. Several minutes went by as he was checked over and then helped off the field, and our Nationwide Children's Sports Medicine athletic trainer Tina was assisting him the whole time. Our team physician from Nationwide Children's Sports Medicine, Dr. Cuff was also there and began to examine him immediately after they had gotten him off the field. Concussion for sure, maybe more. He went home that night and back to the athletic trainer the next day. Headaches became common for a while. Our athletic trainer had given him a baseline concussion test prior to the season beginning and I have never been more grateful for a test. That information really helped Dr. Cuff determine the extent of the injury and how he was healing.

It had taken a few weeks for him to be released and get back into the game, but he did. It was hard for him to watch his teammates play without him but he soon realized that he had to do what the doctor said and that this brain needed some rest to recover. We had just started with the Nationwide Children's athletic training program at our school and a lot of parents were not really sure about the pre-testing. They have made a believer out our family and Tina and Chris have developed a relationship through this process as well as his type I diabetes. He knows that Tina always there to help him out and to look out for his best “physical” interest when it comes to health management.

Our family is grateful to our athletic trainer Tina, our team physician Dr. Cuff and the staff at Nationwide Children's Sports Medicine as he went through visits and an MRI.


Joe Chandler

Joe felt a pain in his lower back which hurt when he ran or kicked the soccer ball.  After about a month with no improvement, we finally scheduled an appointment at Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine and had several tests over the next few weeks which confirmed that Joe had a stress fracture in his lower back.

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Thankfully, no surgery was required, but treatment consisted of wearing a back brace and limiting activity to nothing more than walking for several months.  This was hard, but Joe played a lot of video games to pass the time.

It was such a relief when Joe was pain free and able to start the functional rehabilitation.  After about 2 months of rehab, Joe returned to soccer and played on his high school team this fall with no problems.  He continues to do his stretching and core strengthening exercises several times a week.

Do what they say.  Wear your back brace as much as they tell you.  I wore a t-shirt under the brace to help avoid irritation.  Once rehab starts, do your exercises faithfully every day.  They don’t really take that long to do. So just do it.  It helps when someone does them with you.

Watching games from the sidelines was difficult, but can help pass the time and make you still feel a part of the team.

I had no problem with soccer this fall.  I just added a few of my rehabilitation exercises to the warm-up routine the team did.  It is a little harder to remember to exercise now that soccer is over, but my mom reminds me.

  • Birthday: 9/21
  • Favorite Food: pancakes
  • Siblings: 3 brothers
  • Hometown: Gahanna  
  • Favorite Sport: Soccer
  • Favorite Sports Team: Celtic FC
  • Sports: Soccer since 4 yrs old
  • How interested in the sport: Brothers played

Samantha Miller

During the winter of my freshman year, I was playing club volleyball. I started having back problems that affected how much I could play. My school athletic trainer Amanda refereed me to Nationwide Children's Sports Medicine. I went through a bunch of tests and I found out I have Spina Bifida Occulta. I didn’t really know what that was or what it could do to me until my doctor explained it to me.

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I had to sit out at nationals for softball that summer, and half of my school volleyball season. That was the worst feeling ever. The best thing I could do was just be there for my team and cheer them on. But, with the rest and rehab I did, I came back to play. Now I still have to do my therapy almost every day to keep playing softball, and I know how important it is so that my back wont hurt anymore.

  • Birthday: 8/9/92
  • Favorite food: Pasta
  • Siblings: Nate, Nick, Saiena, Bryan and Ericka
  • Hometown: Reynoldsburg
  • Favorite sport: Softball
  • Favorite athlete: Natasha Watley
  • Favorite sports team: OSU
  • Sports I play: Softball (9 years)
  • How you got interested in your sport: Family

featured video

Andreas’ concussions took him out of school and sports. His family turned to the Sports Medicine Concussion Clinic because of our unique expertise in caring for young athletes like him.
The X-ray came back normal, but Nationwide Children's Sports Medicine physicians still suspected a stress fracture was to blame for Jasmine's pain. They were right.
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