BEAR Necessities Blog

BEAR® Implant Comeback Story:
Izzy, Field Hockey

When 17-year old Izzy Petrus tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during a high school field hockey game, she was worried that her dream of playing the sport in college might never be realized. Yet, less than a year after being treated with the BEAR® Implant, her dream is alive and well, and she has enthusiastically returned to the sport she loves. We spoke with Izzy and her doctor, Dr. Marc Pietropaoli, an orthopedic surgeon at Victory Sports Medicine & Orthopedics in Skaneateles, NY, about the experience of one of the first two BEAR Implant recipients following U.S. FDA approval.

Q: How did you tear your ACL?

Izzy: I inadvertently stepped in a hole during a game and lost my balance. I heard a crack and thought I’d broken my leg. It was only the second game of the season, so it was pretty upsetting. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to return to the sport and, if I did, if I would experience another tear.

Q: How did you learn about the BEAR Implant?

Izzy: Dr. P told me about the BEAR Implant, and it seemed like a really good option. He said I could come back from the injury even stronger. I was also really excited to be the first person in the area to get the BEAR Implant.

Q: Why was Izzy a good candidate for the BEAR Implant?

Dr. P: Izzy is young and athletic, and she fit the parameters for the BEAR Implant. She and her parents understood the pluses and minuses of traditional ACL reconstruction versus the BEAR Implant. I wanted to make sure the patient and the patient’s family were motivated and 100% all in, and they were.

Q: Why do you recommend the BEAR Implant to some of your patients?           

Dr. P: The BEAR Implant is less invasive and usually causes less pain than ACL reconstruction. It has similar success and failure rates, and similar—if not better—return to sport rates. I have been in practice for 24 years and have seen plenty of my original ACL reconstruction patients go on to develop arthritis at an early age, which is a terrible thing. Based on early clinical research, it’s possible that patients who get the BEAR Implant could be at less risk of arthritis down the road. Long-terms studies are underway to assess the impact of the BEAR Implant on osteoarthritis.

Q: What, in your opinion, is most notable about the BEAR Implant?

Dr. P: Being able to repair a full-thickness ACL tear has been the Holy Grail of sports medicine for quite some time. Now we can actually do it, so I am very excited about that. A tear is usually treated with ACL reconstruction, which replaces the ACL with a tendon harvested from another part of the body, or from a deceased donor. But why replace or reconstruct when you can repair, regrow and keep your own parts?

Q: Can you tell us about returning to field hockey?

Izzy: I’m currently playing at Dean College in Franklin, Mass., and have been working closely with the team trainers. Dr. P’s office has also been great about connecting with my trainers. Going into my first game back, I was really excited to play again and wasn’t nervous at all. I felt confident and strong. Stepping onto the field was so much fun. I played the entire 60 minutes and was named player of the game. I did better than I thought I would after not playing for a year!

Dr. P: Izzy worked very hard and completed return to sport testing to be cleared to play full collegiate field hockey 10 months out from surgery. She’s completed her freshman year of field hockey and is doing very well. That is a true testament to her hard work and dedication. The bottom line is that there was excellent teamwork by all parties to get her back on the field.

Q: What are your plans for the future, Izzy?

Izzy: As I get stronger, I may consider transferring to a Division I or II school, and eventually I want to play in adult leagues or coach a youth league.

Learn more about the BEAR Implant and find a surgeon

The BEAR Implant is available in select cities across the U.S., with more cities coming soon. Learn more about the BEAR Implant or find a surgeon in your area.

The BEAR Implant from Miach Orthopaedics was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2020. It is indicated for skeletally mature patients at least 14 years of age with a complete rupture of the ACL confirmed by MRI. Patients must have an ACL stump attached to the tibia to facilitate the restoration.

It is important to follow the BEAR Implant physical therapy program. Your surgeon can explain the program details.

Be sure to discuss your individual symptoms, diagnosis and treatment with your surgeon. The BEAR Implant has the same potential medical/surgical complications as other orthopedic surgical procedures, including ACL reconstruction. These include the risk of re-tear, infection, knee pain, meniscus injury and limited range of motion.

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ML-1076 Rev A 2/2023