After two years of physical therapy, a return to sports

South Dakota high schooler recovers from injuries to both knees

After two years of physical therapy, a return to sports

When Izy Schake tore the ACL in her right leg at a basketball camp in June of 2019, she knew she would have a long road to recovery ahead of her. She just didn’t know how long.

Physical therapy close to home

Schake is a multi-sport athlete at Deuel High School in Clear Lake, South Dakota. After having surgery on that knee, she started working with Luke Johnson, a physical therapist at Sanford right in her hometown.

“The unique thing with physical therapy is, we see (patients) multiple times a week for 30 to 60 minutes for multiple weeks. So you build that rapport. You know when they’re having an off day. You know when to put the gas on and when to apply the brake,” Johnson said.

Schake usually had the pedal to the metal in her therapy sessions.

“She really has just been positive and upbeat since the beginning. From the outset we certainly noticed how she’s just willing to take it on and stay the course,” said Johnson.

That self-motivation was tested though. After being cleared for light workouts, Schake admitted she “overdid it” when she tore her meniscus in that same knee at another basketball camp. Still, her recovery timeline had her ready to play volleyball in the fall of 2020.

A bump in the road to recovery

“It was the second game back, exactly a month from when I got cleared,” Schake recalled. “A girl from the other team spiked it over and one of my teammates tried to pass it. Well, it went into a crowd … so I ran out, and another girl did too. We both stepped together and my leg stepped on hers and it extended.”

Schake tore her other ACL, this time in her left leg.

“When they called me that next day after she tore her other ACL, I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Johnson said.

“I was really down,” Schake said. “I was like, ‘Why does this have to happen again? I just want to play sports.’”

Back to the beginning

After surgery she headed to physical therapy with Johnson once again for another year of recovery. By this time though, they were able to joke about her bad luck.

“We put a sign on the door when she came in and called it the Izy Schake Room. Because she’s been here so much, this is (her) room,” Johnson said.

“I’d been there for so long and they know how to make me happy,” Schake said. “They are basically my family.”

After another year, Schake was finally cleared to play once again this fall.

A return to sports

Just over two years after her initial injury, Schake is back on the volleyball court at full strength. She says she’s also hoping to play basketball in the winter, and possibly run track or play softball this spring. And right down the road, one of her biggest fans will be rooting for her every step of the way.

“I knew her grandma, I know her mom, she plays on the same team as my niece. … You just can’t help but become invested in (our patients) and kind of put everything you can into their recovery,” Johnson said. “We’re a team.”

With physical, occupational, and speech therapy services in rural areas like Clear Lake, Sanford Health can help patients like Schake recover just a short distance from their homes, no matter how long their road to recovery may be.

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Posted In Clear Lake, Here for all. Here for good., Orthopedics, Rehabilitation & Therapy, Specialty Care, Sports Medicine