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Richard Receives the BEAR Implant Surgery

Follow Richard's journey back to competitive swimming after his ACL injury.

It was a typical day for Richard playing basketball with his friends until a sports injury brought his game to an abrupt halt.

As a rising junior in high school and an athlete who swims backstroke competitively on the high school and club team, an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear was not expected.

After an initial visit with his pediatrician, X-rays and an MRI, Richard was referred to Shriners Children’s Philadelphia to have his ACL examined. He visited with Sean Waldron, M.D., pediatric orthopedic surgeon, for a consultation, and it was determined that surgery would be the best option to repair the torn ligament.

With traditional ACL repairs, there are a few different surgical repair techniques, all of which were explained during the appointment. After hearing the options presented to him, Richard chose to proceed with the new innovative ACL repair option, the BEAR Implant surgery. He felt this was his best option for a faster and easier recovery versus typical ACL surgery. Richard was the first Shriners Children’s Philadelphia patient to undergo this procedure.

The BEAR Implant is the first medical advancement granted approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that enables the body to heal its own torn ACL. This new approach is a paradigm shift from ACL reconstruction, and is the first innovation in ACL tear treatment in more than 30 years.

I was kind of scared at first, but I’m healing incredibly well, and within three weeks of surgery I was already able to bend my knee at 90 degrees.
Richard, Philadelphia


Physical therapy is important for all sports injuries, especially ACL tears. Our on-site rehabilitation team created a personalized care plan for Richard, which includes physical therapy weekly throughout the summer.

“Richard is coming in for physical therapy frequently throughout the summer to safely address his strengthening and range of motion first, then progress him to more challenging activities so he can return to swimming competitively. The initial stages of rehab focus on building his quadriceps strength, stretching, and returning to normal walking. Then he will progress to balance activities, running, and more sport-specific exercises,” said physical therapist Sarah Kolp, PT, D.P.T., OCS.

The BEAR Implant allows patients to heal quicker and return to doing what they love much faster, and does not require a second surgery. “I am excited to have the opportunity to offer this ground-breaking technique to the pediatric athletes in our area,” said Dr. Waldron.

While Richard may be supporting his teammates from the sidelines this upcoming swim season, he is hopeful for a full return to the sport when he is fully recovered.

“Richard is making excellent progress! He was able to attend PT prior to his surgery (“pre-hab”), which was extremely beneficial for his leg strength. Usually, the hardest part for athletes is being patient to allow themselves time to heal and progress safely to the next stage. He will be back in the pool as soon as he’s ready!” said Sarah.

We are now offering the BEAR Implant as a treatment option for ACL injuries. If your athlete has an ACL injury, call 215-430-4000 to schedule a consultation to determine if they might be a good candidate for the BEAR Implant.

Physical Therapy Session with Therapists Sarah and Christin

Our team of physical therapists is working with Richard throughout the summer to prepare him for his return to swimming after his ACL repair.

Richard during therapy

Sarah, physical therapist, measures his range of motion during his session.

Richard stretching leg

Richard works on various strengthening and stretching exercises during his session.

Richard during therapy

Christin, physical therapist, works with Richard to show him exercises he can do at home during recovery.

Richard walking

Richard practices walking without his crutches during his PT session.

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