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Lauren Weston, a 21-year-old from Florence, says athletics and sports were always a big part of her life. But an injury Lauren Weston in Africashe obtained as a junior playing basketball at Smith College sidelined her.

“I tore my tendon, and that landed me on the bench for a month,” says Weston. “The athletic trainers at Smith recommended I see Dr. Darius Greenbacher, a sports and exercise medicine doctor at Baystate Health. I’m so glad they did.”

Avoiding Surgery

Greenbacher says Weston had sprained her medial collateral ligament (MCL), the ligament on the inside of the knee, and partially tore her patella tendon. With a customized rehabilitation plan, he was able to help her get back to the court, without having to resort to surgery.

Unfortunately, Lauren returned the following season with a much more serious knee injury: a rupture of her posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), another major knee ligament.

“Together, with my colleague, orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Bullock, we began a much more rigorous rehabilitation program hoping again to avoid surgery, which would have ended her senior year sports season,” says Greenbacher.

He continues, “We created an individualized rehab program, and taught her how to correct for her strength imbalances, which made her more vulnerable to injury. We followed her progress, communicating with the Smith College athletic trainers and physical therapists to optimize her care.”

Road to Recovery

“Dr. Greenbacher taught me the exercises I needed to get back to playing basketball as quickly as possible,” says Weston. “He listened carefully to all my concerns and went above and beyond by helping me plan for what I needed to stay fit even after college. He even followed up with my athletic trainers to ask about my progress. He was genuinely concerned.”

After graduating from Smith with a degree in science and African studies, Weston is now working in Uganda for SPOUTS of Water, a non-profit organization providing access to clean affordable drinking water to the people of East Africa.

“I’ve kept up my rehab routine using exercise bands. Because of the great care I received at Baystate, I am now able to walk for long distances and even shoot a basketball every once in a while,” says Weston. “It's a lot more than I ever thought I'd be doing when I got injured.”

She adds, “Dr. Greenbacher was a true partner in my recovery. He was always incredibly positive, helpful, and supportive. The communication lines were always open and he was always looking out for my best interests. I couldn’t be happier.”

Baystate Sports & Exercise Medicine offers convenient locations in Northampton at 325 King Street, 413-387-4125; and in Greenfield at 48 Sanderson Street, 413-773-2220.