FC Cincinnati midfielder thankful after Coastal Orthopedics surgeon repairs fractured ankle and torn ligament
A single crack pierced the air around the IMG Academy midfield, and Tyler Gibson immediately knew something was wrong.
Gibson, a midfielder for FC Cincinnati who was participating in a preseason camp, fell to the ground in pain. It was unlike anything Gibson had experienced before, and as he held his ankle up in the air, Gibson prayed for the best while expecting the worst.
“I knew immediately that I had broken something,” says Gibson. “I felt and heard it crack.”
Gibson, who suffered a fractured fibula, an ankle syndesmosis injury and a torn deltoid ligament, was referred to Coastal Orthopedics where orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Andrés O’Daly surgically repaired his ankle.
“I met with Dr. O’Daly and I felt very comfortable with him,” says Gibson. “He put me at ease and explained everything. He was very professional and top notch.”
In addition to fracturing the outside bone, Gibson also severed the ligament between both bones.
“This is a very high-energy and complex injury,” says Dr. O’Daly.
Dr. O’Daly and Gibson discussed the severity of the injury as well as the different treatment options. Ankle fractures make up roughly 7 percent of all sports-related injuries, with 50 percent of those same injuries related to soccer.
During the Feb. 7 procedure, Dr. O’Daly disconnected Gibson’s ankle from the grain, allowing for better pain control during and after surgery. He then repaired the fractured fibula with a plate and nine screws and the ligament with a device with a rope that attaches to the bones. He kept them together, let them heal and finally placed suture anchors in the bone to help restore the mechanics of the ankle.
On March 7, Gibson, who is back in Cincinnati rehabilitating, was able to start putting weight on his using a boot and crutches. Gibson will continue to use the boot for three to four weeks before progressing to walking without it and eventually building up his strength for jogging and cutting.
Dr. O’Daly continues to be involved in the rehabilitation progress, routinely checking in on Gibson to see how he’s doing.
“Everything happens for a reason,” says Gibson. “I’m happy to have had my surgery with him. I would definitely recommend Coastal Orthopedics to anyone. Hopefully I don’t have to go through this again; but if I did, I’d definitely go back to them. I’m thankful for what they did for me.”
The overall healing process for ankle fractures ranges from three to six months with professional athletes typically returning to play on the latter end of four to six months. FC Cincinnati began its season March 17 and Gibson hopes to return to the field at the end of May or the beginning of June.
“With adequate support and a good team approach, hopefully we’ll be able to bring him back to where he was before and continue his career,” says Dr. O’Daly. Hopefully one day, we’ll see him in the World Cup.”
In the meantime, Gibson is embracing the journey and not trying to rush the process. Instead, he’s enjoying every day for what it is rather than continually wishing he was back on the field — even though he’s definitely looking forward to getting back out there with his teammates.
“I’ve been getting more involved with my faith,” says Gibson. “Honestly, I’ve been very at peace with this injury. I’ve been so positive from the beginning trusting everything will be all right, and hopefully I can come back even stronger.”