Grace Angelella is a true example of perseverance, hard work, and dedication. Grace, a 16-year old from Harding, PA recently had an extensive surgery that required physical therapy. At such a young age, Grace inspired many with her determination to succeed at The Spine & Sports Medicine Rehab Center at Heinz Rehab Center in Wilkes Barre, PA.

Grace, who has been playing field hockey since she was in third grade, is currently a junior at Wyoming Area High School. Her love for field hockey pushed her to play through the pain she was experiencing on the left side of her hip for over the past two years. After multiple visits to the doctor, Grace was given different remedies to treat what they believed to be pulled hamstrings. However, the pain continued to be more persistent than ever.

The Angelella Family traveled to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City in November of 2014 where Grace learned that she suffered from a genetic condition called hip dysplasia. The treatment for this condition would require extensive.

The surgery, which is called periacetabular osteotomy, was scheduled for May of 2015. However, even though she is young, Grace knew exactly what she wanted in the future, which definitely did not involve sitting on the sidelines of her field hockey games. She aspires to attend college and play field hockey at the division 1 level. The surgery was rescheduled to an earlier date because of Grace’s motivation to fully recover in time to play for her field hockey season.

On February 3, 2015, Grace had her five hour surgery, which required doctors to cut her hip socket away from her hip in order to realign it and secure the placement with five screws. After her surgery, Grace began a long and challenging road of recovery. She described the pain as something she wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

“I never thought I would be able to run again,” Grace said as she began physical therapy at Heinz Rehab Center in the beginning of March with Theresa Stook, DPT.

Grace would come to Heinz 2-3 days a week for an hour at a time. Her therapy originally focused on learning to walk without her walker, which took a challenging 2 ½ months of therapy to be able to do. The therapy then shifted its attention on balancing, strengthening her coordination, and maintaining her core, but making sure that she did this all without any pain.

“Theresa and Mark, my physical therapists, always kept an eye on me and helped me out. They would always be there. Mentally it was really hard, even though so many people said, “you’re going to be back, you’re going to be back.” I kept thinking I wasn’t going to be able to. But now that I am here, it is all definitely worth it. I am back to playing and I plan on playing in college,” Grace said.

With lots of focus, tremendous support from her family and friends, and the help of the physical therapists at Heinz Rehab Center, Grace was able to recover in just 8 months, which is admirable compared to the expected year long recovery. She continues to receive therapy, however not as often and nearly not as intense. She truly is an amazing Grace!