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OREF donors do more than fund grants. A gift to OREF makes possible the kind of research that can have a real impact on patients. Patients like those listed below know the value of orthopaedic research firsthand. Click their names to learn more about the impact research had on their treatment and their lives.

If you would like to share the story of a patient you've been able to help thanks to a procedure or other treatment that resulted from research, please complete this form. A member of the OREF Communications team will contact you for more information about your patient story.

If you have any questions, please contact Amy Kile, Manager of Marketing Communications for OREF, at (847) 430-5107 or

Patient Stories

Patient Stories

Grant Johnson—Meniscus Allograft Transplant

Grant Johnson completed marathons in all 50 U.S. states


Meniscus Allograft Transplant

Doctor: Scott A. Meyer, MD

GRANT: Basketball was my favorite sport, but playing it resulted in my first knee injury. I tore my ACL and damaged my medial meniscus.

DR. MEYER: I was able to repair Grant’s ACL and medial meniscus. I encouraged Grant to focus on his rehab program and because he did, he was able to go back to playing his favorite sport.

GRANT: I had run two marathons prior to my first knee injury and two marathons after and decided to try to complete one in every U.S. state. Then I hurt my knee playing basketball again. I’d torn my meniscus and this time it wasn’t repairable.

DR. MEYER: Arthroscopy showed that most of the formerly repaired meniscus would need to be removed. Because Grant didn’t have arthritis, I thought a meniscus allograft transplant and high tibial osteotomy procedure to realign the knee joint would be the best course of treatment for him.

GRANT: During a follow-up visit months later, I accepted it when Dr. Meyer told me I could no longer play basketball, but I did not accept his recommendation to try cycling instead of running to stay active. I told him that, despite his advice, I would continue running marathons. In 2016, I accomplished my goal of completing a marathon in all 50 states.

DR. MEYER: It’s important to contribute to support research because research does improve what orthopaedic surgeons can offer patients for treating injuries such as Grant had. Without research, a meniscus allograft wouldn’t have been an option and Grant wouldn’t have been able to get back to his active life.

GRANT: Thanks to what was a relatively new procedure when Dr. Meyer performed it, my knee feels like it did 15 years ago. He saved my active life.

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Jake Rank—Cartilage Restoration

Jake Rank

Jake Rank

Cartilage Restoration

Doctor: Vishal M. Mehta, MD

JAKE: While playing soccer my senior year in high school, I went to turn and felt major pain in my right knee. I’d torn my meniscus a couple years before and knew it could be a similar injury.

DR. MEHTA: Jake came to see me when he still felt pain after being scoped. I found that he was missing cartilage on the end of his femur and gave him a couple options for treatment. One was a new cartilage restoration procedure.

JAKE: Dr. Mehta gave me the option to treat the pain with a shot so that I could return to playing soccer that year. But he also informed me that could mean needing a knee replacement at a young age. Instead, I decided to stop playing for a while and go ahead with the new procedure.

DR. MEHTA: This new procedure, which began with bench research, uses a mesh of cryopreserved cartilage that has been laser-etched to make it more biologically active. Unlike traditional allografts, it does not need to match the patient’s anatomy, meaning less wait time before surgery can be scheduled, it is cryopreserved allowing for elective scheduling of surgery, and it doesn’t require the bone to be violated as much to accommodate the graft.

JAKE: Surgery happened the last day of my senior year in 2016. Although recovery was tough, I felt more normal once I was able to bend my knee. I attended Carthage College that fall, finishing physical therapy at school. Now I’ve returned home to work with my old coach to try to get back to playing soccer, something Dr. Metha thinks is very possible.

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Roneese Green—RankL Inhibitor Treatment

Roneese Green

Roneese Green

RankL Inhibitor Treatment

Doctor: Wakenda Tyler, MD, MPH

RONEESE: I had surgery on my left leg in 2016 to remove a giant cell tumor, but it returned. Dr. Tyler explained that I would need to have another surgery and that the tumor was larger and more aggressive.

DR. TYLER: Roneese had a large recurrence with loss of most of the bone of her distal femur, as well as a very large soft tissue mass that extended into her knee joint and popliteal space. I knew that it would be very difficult to resect the soft tissue component that was now abutting her popliteal vessels. I also wanted to spare as much bone as we could because of her young age.

RONEESE: For about six months to a year, I underwent injections to build the bone and possibly shrink the tumor. I had the surgery to remove the tumor and a knee replacement in 2018.

DR. TYLER: We placed Roneese on a RankL inhibitor initially used for treatment of osteoporosis. It was found through several important trials to also cause ossification and sometimes soft tissue tumor shrinkage of giant cell tumor of bone. After several months, we found that it created a rim of ossified tissue around the soft tissue mass, which made the vascular dissection and surgery much safer for her.

RONEESE: Although I had some setbacks, thanks to Dr. Tyler I’ve passed with flying colors and am doing great!

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John Nile Wendorf—Arthroscopic Shoulder Repair

John Nile Wendorf

John Nile Wendorf

Arthroscopic Shoulder Repair

Doctor: Nikhil N. Verma, MD

JOHN: In July 2017, I was on the losing end of a battle for “King of the Mountain.” It was me versus four grandkids. The result was multiple tears to the left rotator cuff as well as some other shoulder damage.

DR. VERMA: John went to immediate care and saw his primary care physician who recommended a course of rehab and possibly one injection. He did not get better and had an MRI, which showed that he had torn his rotator cuff. He also had limited range and strength with continued pain. We saw in the MRI that he had torn his supraspinatus tendon and we decided the best course of action would be an arthroscopic treatment to repair it.

JOHN: Dr. Verma operated in early December 2017. The outpatient procedure went off without a hitch and I was home that evening to start my recovery and rehab.

DR. VERMA: Arthroscopic surgery is probably one of the biggest success stories in orthopaedics. These procedures didn’t exist 20 years ago. We used to have to remove part of the muscle, meaning patients would be in the hospital for the night. Now it’s just 3-4 small poke holes. Research led to the development of this procedure.

JOHN: By April 2018, I had full motion back in my shoulder, shoulder pain was something in the past, and my strength was probably about half of where it was before the injury. I know the exercises that I must do to continue building my shoulder strength. I will keep working at it until I get there.

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David Diaz Jr.—Youth Throwing Score Assessment

David Diaz Jr.

David Diaz Jr.

Youth Throwing Score Assessment

Doctor: Manish S. Noticewala, MD

More than 2.6 million emergency department visits are made every year for sports-related injuries in the 5 to 24-year-old age group. As more young athletes play organized sports, the rate of pediatric sports injuries continues to rise.

Clinical outcome instruments that are both pediatric-specific and injury specific are needed to objectively evaluate the effect of an intervention on recovery from injury. Before Dr. Noticewala’s study, there were no validated upper extremity shoulder and elbow—instruments designed to evaluate pain, function, and performance in the pediatric overhead athlete.

Dr. Noticewala developed and tested The Youth Throwing Score, a new instrument to evaluate pain, function, and performance in pediatric overhead athletes.

DR. NOTICEWALA: There was very little in the literature regarding how to evaluate these patients and assess the efficacy of treatments. For example, if a 12-year-old overhead athlete came in with elbow pain, how could you quantify his/her pain and functional limitations? How could the orthopaedic surgeon objectively determine whether the treatment intervention led to an improvement in pain and function? We needed a better way to evaluate pain, function and performance.

Now, The Youth Throwing Score is the first valid and reliable instrument for assessing young baseball players’ upper extremity health. The instrument can be utilized in both clinical practice and clinical research as an objective means to assess youth overhead athletes following injury and/or treatment.

DAVID DIAZ SR. (patient’s father):
The Youth Throwing Score is an easy way for those of us who are not doctors to monitor the progress being made with treatment.

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