Bone & joint health Patient stories

Field hockey star is back on the Road to Rio 2016

Keegan Pereira

A proud member of Canada’s field hockey team, Keegan Pereira is back on the Road to Rio 2016 after a torn ACL sidelined him for several months.

Keegan Pereira took to field hockey with passion and skill, the same sport his father had played to acclaim in India. Today at 24, the university graduate plays full time in a competitive league in Europe and competes internationally as a member of the Canadian team.

Last October, Keegan hurt his knee while scoring a goal in a league game. He suffered a complete tear to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and a small meniscus (knee cartilage) tear. Weeks later, he was referred to Dr. Paul Marks, a surgeon and scientist with a special interest in sports medicine, arthroscopy and knee and shoulder reconstruction. Dr. Marks is also the Toronto Raptors basketball team’s head physician and orthopaedic surgeon.

Dr. Marks’ skills are in demand: four in 10 of his patients have had unsuccessful surgery before arriving in his office. He says the key to the top results he gets is “I custom fit the surgery to the patient. I do one technique but I have different variants of it and I select those that are best suited to optimize patients’ probabilities of success.

“I’ve had patients with ACL tears who’ve gone on to win Olympic medals after surgery. But most of my patients are not that: they’re weekend warriors.”

Dr. Marks performed arthroscopic surgery to reconstruct Keegan’s ACL in January, replacing the ligament with a graft from the tendon in Keegan’s kneecap. While he wasn’t quite ready to play in the Pam Am Games, he cheered the team on and kept his sights on the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

The elite athlete says his care at Sunnybrook was outstanding. “Dr. Marks and his team did a great job explaining everything about the surgery to me and telling me about previous ACL reconstructions he had done. They made me feel very comfortable leaving my knee in their hands.”

Following the surgery and months of rehab, Keegan’s back in full form. He is currently en route to Raipur, India to play the World League Finals with the Canadian team. It’s a tournament for the top 8 qualifying teams in the world.

“Field hockey is my life,” Keegan says. “I’m grateful to Dr. Marks and Sunnybrook for giving me back my life.”

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