Destinee’s dream to play college softball

Patient of: R. Stephen Lucie, MD

Destinee’s dream to play college softball reached thanks to Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute

Orthopedic surgeon Stephen Lucie reconstructed Destinee’s ACL and repaired her MCL and meniscus

Destinee Lizzmore was in her sophomore year, a time when college scouts look at who they want to recruit for their softball teams. Destinee played softball since she was just four years old and was skilled at second base performing in tournaments with a local travel team and with her high school. The last thing she was expecting was an injury that would sideline her for more than half a year. But that’s what happened during a game when Destinee turned to catch the ball from the outfielder and her spikes on her shoe stuck in the wet clay. Her knee snapped and she fell injuring her left knee.

“I started screaming. It was the worst pain in my life. I started thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to ever play again,’” Destinee said.

She thought her dreams of playing in college were over until she met Dr. Stephen Lucie, orthopedic surgeon with Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute and Baptist Health, who reconstructed her ACL and repaired her MCL and meniscus. He also assured her she would be back on the field again.

He was right. The 18-year-old starts this fall at the College of Central Florida in Ocala playing for their softball team.
A successful minimally invasive surgery and about eight months of physical therapy at Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute and she’s excited again for the future.

“Dr. Lucie was really confident and really honest. He said it will take a while and it’s a process, but you are going to play. That gave me a lot of confidence and put a smile on my face knowing I could step on the field and play again,” Destinee said. “College was always my dream to play. As bad of an injury that it was and as much as it set me back, I was not going to let it defeat me.”

Destinee had an allograft ACL reconstruction using a cadaver graft as opposed to her own tendon so the incisions were smaller.

“She was highly motivated and very hard working. She carried a positive attitude throughout her rehabilitation and she met or exceeded all her goals along the way,” Dr. Lucie said. “ACL rehabilitation is a fairly difficult, six to nine-month process and we had to hold her back a lot of times because she was eager to get back to doing all her usual things. The most enjoyable part about the practice of sports medicine is seeing young people like Destinee fulfill their dreams and go back to playing the sport.”

She graduated in June from the Paxon School for Advanced Studies where she received the MVP Award and award for Outstanding Offense since returning to high school softball last year.
Because of the experience and what she learned at JOI, Destinee now wants to become a physician assistant possibly in orthopedics working with other athletes.

“So many people have these dreams of playing sports and then they get injured. To be able to help somebody get back on their feet and do what they love, is something I want to do,” Destinee said.

– Destinee

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