BEAR Necessities Blog

BEAR® Implant Comeback Story: Patrick, Ice Hockey

Patrick, Ice Hockey

Patrick Moner is a 61-year-old firefighter and avid sportsman from Cleveland, Ohio. When he was 25, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee and underwent ACL reconstruction (ACLR) with a patellar tendon graft. During a family ski trip, he ended up tearing the ACL in the opposite knee, which is called a contralateral tear. Through his research on alternative treatments for ACL tears, he found the BEAR Implant and chose to work with Dr. Rahman Kandil, an orthopedic sports surgeon at the Orthopedic Group with multiple locations in Virginia.

We spoke with Patrick and Dr. Kandil about the decision to get the BEAR Implant, how rehab went and what the impact has been since returning to sports.

Q: How did you tear your ACL?

Patrick: While I was skiing with my son in Utah, I was jumping through trees from one slope to the other. I felt a pop after landing one of the jumps, and my left knee immediately felt unstable. I had previously blown out the ACL in my right knee when I was 25 years old, so I knew what an ACL tear felt like. Later that night, my knee swelled up, and when I tried to climb down a ladder the next day at the fire station, the weight on my knee felt very uncomfortable. I decided to go see a doctor, and an MRI confirmed the ACL tear.

Q: How did you learn about the BEAR Implant and why was it the right option for you?

Patrick: I had a very painful recovery process after getting a patellar tendon graft for the ACL tear in my right knee when I was 25. After I recovered, my knee still felt unstable. Not only did I have tracking issues, but also pressure under my kneecap. I didn’t have confidence in getting ACLR again, so I researched online what other options might be available and came across the BEAR Implant. I was intrigued since the BEAR Implant didn’t require a graft and the alignment would be more natural. At the time, they weren’t offering the BEAR Implant in Cleveland, so I reached out to Miach Orthopaedics to find surgeons in neighboring states who could perform the surgery. I ended up choosing Dr. Kandil due to his credentials, and we had a great rapport from start to finish.

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

Dr. Kandil: Patrick was interested in returning to a high level of activity and undergoing a surgical procedure that minimizes morbidity and restores normal knee mechanics. The BEAR Implant gives patients like Patrick an additional option for treatment of ACL injuries. In my opinion, it should be the treatment of choice for those who want the chance to allow the body to heal itself naturally without removing the native ACL.

Q. Tell us about the rehab experience.

Patrick: After getting the BEAR Implant, I had very little pain and only needed over the counter pain medicine after the surgery. Since I was so active prior to the surgery, the first four months of rehab, I lost a lot of upper body strength and muscles in my legs. At my age, it’s harder to get muscle back onto my body, but I worked hard to follow the protocol to rebuild muscle and get my range of motion back. Rehab after ACLR was a lot more difficult because I had great pain and felt like I was about to retear my ACL numerous times. I was much happier with my rehab progress with the BEAR Implant.

Dr. Kandil: Patrick followed the recommended rehab protocol for the BEAR Implant with the assistance of physical therapy and was able to achieve excellent range of motion early in the recovery process with minimal pain. He has returned to a very active lifestyle, including hockey, challenging hikes and a general high-level fitness regimen.

Q: Can you tell us about returning to sport, ice hockey in particular?

Patrick: I’ve played ice hockey since I was 35, and I play at a club level for adults. In addition to hockey, I also sail, hike, swim, dirt bike, paddle board and play rugby. Because I’m so active, I experienced a lot of muscle atrophy during rehab because I couldn’t do as much strength training. Once I was cleared to return to sport, I was determined to build my stamina back up. Before my first hockey game, I felt excited and confident. When I was playing, I felt like my normal self, just lacking a little speed. I’m now back to playing three games of hockey in one day.

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

Dr. Kandil: The BEAR Implant is notable for several reasons. First, it can harness the body’s natural potential to heal itself by creating the proper environment for this to happen. Secondly, it is less morbid and does not involve harvesting graft to reconstruct the ACL. Thirdly, it is a less painful procedure for restoring normal body mechanics, which may have beneficial long-term effects over current ACL treatment options.

Q: How has getting the BEAR Implant changed your life and what are your plans for the future?

Patrick: With the BEAR Implant, I can do everything I used to do, and I don’t even think about it. At 61, I can still play hockey with the young guys and even score a couple points every game. It’s been instrumental in helping me do my job in the inner-city fire department, as I fall through holes and climb 155 stairs daily. I recently completed the Everest Base Camp trek in seven days, and it usually takes people 12 days to finish. I also plan to hike Mount Kilimanjaro within the next year. I’ve been a firefighter for 31 years, and although it’s been very rewarding, I plan to retire this June. I’m looking forward to having even more time to do the sports and activities I love.

Learn more about the BEAR Implant and find a surgeon

The BEAR Implant is available across the U.S. Learn more about the BEAR Implant or find a surgeon in your area. If you’re a BEAR Implant patient and would like to share your story, click here.

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-1167 Rev A 4/2023