College Soccer Player Has Eyes Set on Medical Career After ACL Surgery Success

Throughout her life, soccer and an active lifestyle have been central to Taylor Fischer. An accomplished athlete, Taylor fell in love with soccer as a sport when she was just seven years old and never wavered.

“I never loved another sport as much as I love soccer. I focused on soccer and being a goalie, said Taylor. “Even when we were too young to have a goalie on the team, I would always stand by the net. As soon as I was old enough to be a goalie, people around me said get this girl some gloves.”

Her hard work paid off. Taylor made varsity her freshman year at South Lyon High School and in her junior year, her team won the regular season division title and conference title for the first time in the high school’s history.

Recruiting process leads Taylor to Adrian College

Knowing that Taylor wanted to continue to play competitively in college, she committed to playing goalie for Adrian College after falling in love with the team and the academic program. Now a senior, Taylor has started as a goalie all four years while maintaining a rigorous academic schedule majoring in neuroscience.

Although many of Taylor’s soccer colleagues were plagued with knee injuries, she felt fortunate that she was unscathed throughout her playing years, but her luck changed her senior year at the tail end of the fourth game of the season in September 2023.

“There were only 28 seconds left and as I was tracking the ball, I misstepped and went down. When I tried to get up, a teammate and my athletic trainer asked if it was my ACL. I remember saying over and over again it’s not my ACL, I just overextended my knee.”

Taylor walked off the field and did not need crutches, however decided to get an MRI because she wasn’t able to bend her knee in a normal way. An MRI showed she had a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a common sports injury caused by sudden twisting motion. She described her pain as minimal but ended up wearing a knee immobilizer brace to improve pain and function.

“The next day after wearing the brace I told my athletic trainer I need to get out of this and needed to be able to move my knee a little bit.”

Taylor chooses Henry Ford for her ACL surgery

After recommendations from her athletic trainer, her teammates, her aunt Christina Chapski, who serves as director of Athletic Training and Community Outreach at Henry Ford’s Center for Athletic Medicine in Detroit, and her father who had successful surgery at Henry Ford Health to repair his Achilles tendon, Taylor knew the surgeon that she would put her trust in. Taylor met with Bill Moutzouros, MD, Henry Ford orthopedic surgeon who specializes in ACL injuries, in early October of 2023 and proceeded to have surgery during her winter break in December.

Dr. Moutzouros explained that Taylor had a complete ACL rupture that commonly occurs in soccer athletes.

“With her level of play and desire to continue to compete, we decided on a patellar tendon graft for her reconstruction, said Dr. Moutzouros. “We also try to preserve the ACL remnant, when possible, to allow for the best recovery and confidence in the knee post-surgery.” He adds that Taylor's surgery went very well, and she has been a model patient in terms of her focus on rehabilitation.

“I look forward to her full recovery and return to whatever sport and level she chooses in the future,” says Dr. Moutzouros.

Immediately following surgery Taylor underwent physical therapy with Matt Sennott, physical therapist at Henry Ford’s Center for Athletic Medicine.

“Matt was great,” she says. “He was really encouraging without pushing me too hard to make me feel uncomfortable and helped me in my goal to go back to campus after winter break without having to use crutches.”

Although Taylor would not be able to continue to play soccer during her senior year at Adrian, it was important for her to schedule the surgery and physical therapy in a timely manner so that she could finish her senior year without interruption.

“I am very appreciative that both Dr. Moutzouros and Matt laid out my options really well based on my personal goals to finish off my senior year at Adrian, while allowing me the flexibility to stay active and perhaps continue playing soccer recreationally without issues,” she says.

Taylor heads to Michigan State in the fall to become a physician assistant

Following in her aunt Christina’s footsteps who chose to work in the health care profession, Taylor plans to continue her studies at Michigan State University, an academic partner of Henry Ford Health, in the fall of 2024 as she pursues a master’s degree to become a physician assistant.

She chose Henry Ford Health and Michigan State for some common reasons. “I found both Henry Ford Health and Michigan State to be institutions that really cared about me as an individual and have supported me in my personal, athletic and career goals.”

For more information about ACL injuries and treatment options, visit women and ACL injuries at Henry Ford Health. Request an appointment with a Henry Ford sports medicine specialist to get started on the road to recovery.

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