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Recovery for the Competitive Athlete - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Recovery for the Competitive Athlete

Recovery for the Competitive Athlete

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Recovering after surgery can be a long and painful process, especially for the most competitive athletes. Sanford Health offers a program to help people get back on two feet and in shape.

Dean Larsen is not used to setting limits for himself, but after breaking his left leg three times in the past 15 years -- you can say it was the charm to finally get a new knee.

"I love sports. [I'm an] avid golfer. I love water skiing, love snow skiing," he says. "I mean, ibuprofen and myself were very good friends. It was pain every day. When they said, 'It's going to hurt and the therapy's going to hurt, I said, 'It's not a big deal because I've lived with it for 15 years.'"

For the last four months, Dean has worked with Sanford Health physical therapist, Jef Schmidt, to regain strength in his leg and hips after surgery. It's a program specially designed for Dean and under his pace.

"He was really motivated and he knew what he wanted," says Schmidt. "He had a plan set out that when he got this knee fixed, he wanted to meet these goals and these criteria."

Over at Sanford's Power Center, Kristin Drechsel balances therapy with hockey, volleyball and track. The Moorhead Spud is re-learning to use her leg muscles after tearing her ACL last September.

"I was just working out, like my normal work outs," she says. "I was running and it was just shifting and popped out of place. It was a really awkward."

After months of hard work, therapists calculate Kristin's strength at 98.5%. She's hoping to return to the real rink soon.

As for Dean, he says he's looking forward to more scuba diving trips and working on his swing.

"It's not just about sports. It's also quality of life, and not having the pain is amazing."

Sanford Health has about 15 therapists working in their facilities. They work with athletes who are suffering from back-pain to patients recovering from major surgery.

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