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Harrisonville Student Athlete Credits Sports Medicine Center at Children's Mercy with Successful Recovery

#17 Jackson Crowley takes the field with Harrisonville Wildcats Friday, October 27

“Pop!” That’s the sensation Jackson Crowley said he felt Sept. 7, 2015, the first time he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. A sophomore, Jackson was playing running back for the Harrisonville High School Wildcats.

“It was just three minutes into the game against Bolivar, and on the fourth down, there was a screen pass to me,” Jackson said. “I caught the ball, went to cut and run, felt my right knee give out and immediately fell to the ground.”

At first, Jackson had no idea what might be wrong. “I thought I might have broken my leg,” he said. “I was in so much pain, and my knee began swelling immediately.”

After being helped off the field, the team’s athletic trainer advised Jackson and his parents he might have torn his ACL. They headed for home, not sure what his next move would be.

“On the drive back to Harrisonville, I searched the web to find a sports medicine program we thought would work well for Jackson,” explained Amy Crowley, Jackson’s mother. “I found the Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center website. My husband and I agreed we needed to take Jackson to Children’s Mercy.”

The next day, Amy scheduled an appointment for Jackson with James Roberson, MD, at the Children’s Mercy Blue Valley Sports Medicine Clinic.

Dr. Roberson examined Jackson and also thought he had torn his ACL. After ordering an MRI to confirm the injury, he referred Jackson to Kevin Latz, Chief, Section of Sports Medicine, Children’s Mercy Kansas City.

Dr. Latz recommended reconstructive surgery using a hamstring graft from Jackson’s own leg. He scheduled the operation for Oct. 14, 2015. In the meantime, Jackson began physical therapy to strengthen his leg and prepare for the operation at a facility in Belton, closer to his home.

After successfully repairing the tear in an outpatient surgery, Dr. Latz recommended more physical therapy for Jackson. He began working out at least twice a week for the next six months at the Belton facility.

photo by Denise Davidson, Harrisonville Star

Anxious to get back to playing one of his favorite sports, the day he was released to return to play he tried out for a competitive summer basketball league.

Jackson made the team. However, just a few months later, he felt that familiar “pop!” when he went up for a rebound and landed wrong. “I was wearing my sports brace, but I knew immediately I had torn my ACL again,” Jackson said.

His parents sensed it too, but hoped they were wrong. “I thought surely he hasn’t torn it again,” Amy said. “He was nine months out from surgery.”

Luckily, this time Amy knew just who to call—the Center for Sports Medicine. Greg Canty, MD, Medical Director, evaluated Jackson the next day and ordered an MRI. A few hours later, Dr. Latz called to confirm the injury and discuss a treatment plan.

Because he had already used Jackson’s hamstring for the first repair, he suggested a different type of reconstruction using a quadriceps graft, and he referred Jackson to a colleague specializing in that operation.

Following another successful surgery, Jackson was determined to rehab the injury differently this time, working one-on-one with Michael Denning, DPT, Sports Medicine Center at Children’s Mercy.

“Right off the bat, I had a connection with Michael,” Jackson said.


I had to help him pace himself through therapy and not go too fast. I didn’t want him to risk tearing his ACL again.
Michael Denning, Physical Therapist at the Sports Medicine Center at Children's Mercy

“I think Michael understood that Jackson is an athlete at heart,” Amy added. “Even though we live in Harrisonville, it was worth the drive to Overland Park. The one-on-one sessions with Michael made this a totally different therapy experience.”

“With two injuries in nine months, Jackson had had a tough time of it, but he has a tremendous work ethic and was determined to fully recover,” Michael said. “I had to help him pace himself through therapy and not go too fast. I didn’t want him to risk tearing his ACL again.”

Jackson didn’t want to take that risk either. “I wanted to do everything right this time so this would never happen again. I was focused on getting stronger, faster and staying healthy so I could play football and basketball my senior year of high school.”

To reach his goal, he added weight training and a healthy diet to his workout regimen. Plus, Jackson participated in a six-week ACL injury prevention program with the Sports Medicine Center at Children’s Mercy.

Finally, after two ACL tears, two ACL reconstructive surgeries, and nearly two years of physical therapy, Jackson is back on the football field for his senior year, this time playing as a middle linebacker for the Wildcats.

“So far, my season is going great,” he said. “I feel like my knee is better than ever!

“I’m just excited to be back out there, playing with my friends and making memories,” Jackson said. “These are the best years of my life and I have to credit Dr. Latz and Michael for helping get me where I am now. They are incredible!”


Learn more about the Sports Medicine Center at Children's Mercy.