New therapy helping Altoona High School student get back on the court

New therapy helping Altoona High School student get back on the court. (WJAC)

A new form of therapy, primarily used to help wounded combat veterans, helped an Altoona teen get back on the basketball court for her senior year.

Altoona high school senior Olivia Hudson took a shot during a game, and when she landed, she knew something wasn’t right.

“I was just going up for a layup and came down and tore my MCL, ACL, LCL, like everything in my knee from a simple layup,” said Hudson.

Eight to 12 months is the average recovery time for this type of injury. Hudson feared this would impact not only her senior year, but also her chances for a college scholarship. Using a treatment called blood flow restriction therapy, her recovery time was cut almost in half.

“It is definitely making the process go faster, because I am working harder than I would be if I was not using it,” said Hudson. “This was originally an eight-month recovery, and I cut it back to five.”

BFR is new to west-central Pennsylvania, but all over the country, the therapy has been used to help wounded combat veterans.

“It incorporates using a tourniquet going around either the top of your thigh or the top of your arm, and it restricts the blood flow, which in turn restricts oxygen that is available to the muscles of that extremity while exercising, said physical therapist Brian Hmel.

The restriction allows your physical therapy to benefit your recovery at a faster pace than you would without this method.

“When you inflate that tourniquet, there is not much oxygen and not much blood flow getting to those muscles, so you are going from zero to 100 right away,” said Hmel. “You are getting as much benefit as you possibly can from that exercise as soon as you start.”

Now, thanks to BFR, starting Nov. 20 Hudson will be back on the court, ready for a winning season.

“I knew I would be back eventually,” said Hudson. “I didn’t think I would be back for the beginning of the season. So I worked a lot harder than I would have if it wasn’t my senior year.”

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