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BEAR Implant Comeback Story
Ashley Solomon, Bowling
“It’s very cool to know I was one of the first people in the metropolitan New Orleans area to receive the BEAR Implant. I’m happy that I’m still able to bowl, run with my kids and play basketball."
After 47-year-old Ashley Solomon tore his ACL while bowling, he turned to his longtime orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Scott Buhler of Crescent City Orthopedics, to help him get back to his active lifestyle.Ashley and Dr. Buhler spoke with us about why the BEAR Implant ended up being the right option for Ashley, what his experience was like and how he was able to renew his love for bowling while undergoing recovery.
Q: How did you tear your ACL?
Ashley: I tore my ACL while bowling during the third or fourth frame of the night. I went to throw a four-pin spare cross lane and as I turned my body to the right and slid, my leg locked and stayed where it was. Even though I had a high pain tolerance, I knew something was wrong. I continued the night but called Dr. Buhler first thing the next morning to get an MRI. I eventually learned I ruptured my ACL and that my torn ACL wasn’t even visible on the MRI.
Q: What treatments options did you explore and why did you choose to move forward with the BEAR Implant?
Ashley: Dr. Buhler discussed a few different options with me including the BEAR Implant. I opted out of anything involving a cadaver and knew that I’d rather take a graft from my own body. Since we couldn’t see the state of my ACL from the MRI, he would evaluate whether I was a good candidate for the BEAR Implant once he got in there for surgery. I’ve undergone other procedures with Dr. Buhler and fully trust his judgement. I found out I got the BEAR Implant after I woke up from surgery and felt confident it was the right choice.
Q: Why was Ashley a good candidate for the BEAR Implant?
Dr. Buhler: Ashley is active in multiple facets of his life and was unable to maintain his activity levels due to the instability in his knee. An ACL repair utilizing the BEAR Implant was an opportunity for him to undergo a stabilization procedure that can get him back to his prior level of activity while maximizing the long-term health of his knee.
Q: How was the rehab experience?
Ashley: When I first started rehab, I didn’t know what to expect. My physical therapist followed the protocol exactly, and I slowly progressed day by day, week by week. I didn’t experience much pain, only a little knee instability in the beginning. I have been bowling since I was three years old but had given up on bowling for different reasons after I tore my ACL. Two months into rehab, I read a lot of chatter about what was happening in the bowling world. This motivated me to get back to bowling so I could compete again.
Dr. Buhler: Ashley's recovery was typical for a patient that either undergoes ACL restoration with the BEAR Implant or ACL reconstruction. He has been realistic in his expectations with timing and his progression of activity throughout the process. He did a great job of maintaining consistency along his path, and it has been inspiring to watch Ashley return to a high level of activity and bowling.
Q: Can you tell us about your return to sport experience?
Ashley: I was nervous at first because I didn’t know how it would feel throwing the ball again. During my first throw, I was timid and took my time. After 7-8 shots, I really got into a rhythm. I wasn’t focused on scoring, I just wanted to feel comfortable. I averaged 237 my first five weeks back in the league, which was higher than my pre-injury average of 233. I completed three tournaments this summer and am happy to report that I wasn’t in last place!
Q: Now that you’ve successfully returned to bowling, what are some of your future goals?
Ashley: I’m 47 years old now and in three years, I want to enter the PBA50 Regional Tour for bowling. I’m training for it and also looking into getting the right sponsorship. I'm still wearing the brace for extra support while bowling and plan to keep it on until the weather changes. The humidity makes approaches on synthetic lanes very tacky and sometimes causes difficulty sliding while bowling. It gives me peace of mind to know that if I happen to stick, the brace will not allow my knee to shift left or right. Overall, I feel confident in my knee and know I can do any physical activities with or without the brace on.
Q: In your opinion, what is most notable about the BEAR Implant?
Dr. Buhler: The BEAR Implant provides me with the ability to perform a restoration of the ACL in a subset of ACL tears without the need for a graft harvest from the patient. It also prevents the need for utilization of allograft tissue, which is tissue from a donor. The BEAR Implant, made up of Type 1 bovine collagen, has been well researched. It was initially researched in the laboratory on a basic science level. Subsequently, it has been researched clinically, producing high-level evidence of success.
Q: How has getting the BEAR Implant changed your life and do you have advice for others who have torn their ACL?
Ashley: It’s very cool to know I was one of the first people in the metropolitan New Orleans area to receive the BEAR Implant. I am a lot more conscious now of how I move and use my leg. I’m happy that I’m still able to bowl, run with my kids and play basketball. I would recommend those considering ACL treatment options to look into the BEAR Implant. It was the right choice for me because I didn’t need to take tissue from my own tendon.
To find out if you're a candidate for the BEAR Implant, call (504) 309-6500 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Buhler.