Manchester High School’s Devin Allman knows how to come back to win soccer games so when an ACL injury tried to sideline him, he knew it would take determination and his team – at Akron Children’s – to overcome it.
“I honestly can’t remember a time I didn’t play soccer. I’ve been playing competitively on school and club teams for years and have always been injury free,” said Devin Allman. “I’ve collided with players before, but this time when I came down I heard a pop so I knew right away something wasn’t right.”
Devin’s high school coach, Scott Carpenter, happened to be at the off-season game Devin was playing in. Scott is also an athletic trainer and orthopedic technician at Akron Children’s Hospital, where he’s been working for nearly 20 years.
“I knew something was really wrong just by the sound it made during the injury. After I asked him orthopedic assessment questions and tested his ligaments, I knew it was serious,” said Scott. “I contacted Dr. Riley Jr. that night and he agreed to see Devin in the office the next day. I really hoped my assessment was wrong because no one wants to see a player go down, especially a key player like Devin and right before his senior year.”
The X-rays and MRI showed Devin tore 3 of the 4 main ligaments in the knee that connect the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shin bone) – anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL), as well as his meniscus. Dynamic movements such as cutting, pivoting and sidestepping that are common in soccer put an enormous amount of stress on the knee, but even a conditioned knee like Devin’s couldn’t withstand the forceful impact of the collision.
Devin’s surgeon, Dr. Patrick Riley Jr., performed an ACL reconstruction with bone-patellar tendon-bone allograft and a lateral meniscus repair with the goal of tightening the knee and restoring its stability.
After surgery, Devin began 9 months of physical therapy to help with range of motion, flexibility and strengthening of the knee, thigh and shin muscles. Due to the pandemic, Devin wasn’t always able to come into the hospital for therapy so had to do exercises at home and with support from his high school coach.
“My coach really knows his stuff. I would tell him if my knee was sore, but I didn’t want to stop so he would pull me out at practice because he knew my knee needed a break,” said Devin. “At first, I was very frustrated because I just wanted to get back to what I knew I could do. Everyone told me therapy was key so I kept going, kept working, kept pushing so I could get back to where I wanted to be.”
For Devin, that meant being back on the field and ready to start all 17 games of his senior high school season.
“Devin is a very determined, skillful player,” said Scott. “His determination to be the best he can be has really been the reason for his quick, successful return to sport so soon after surgery.”
Devin’s high school team made it to the second round playoffs this year. Devin continues to play club soccer and hopes to continue his success on the soccer field as a collegiate athlete.