Jaguars player returns despite dramatic injury

Patient of: Kevin M. Kaplan, MD

Dr. Kaplan

Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks was having the best season of his seven-year NFL career going into the Jacksonville Jaguars’ final game last season. “And boom, this happened out of nowhere,” Marks said.

He was running and his foot planted wrongly on the turf, causing him to shift his knee and fall to the ground. The non-contact pivot resulted in a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus tear in his right knee in December. He immediately worried about his family and “how everything revolves around me and my career.”

But Orthopaedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist Kevin Kaplan, MD, with the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute and head Jaguars team physician, assured him that he would be OK. Ten months and a large amount of hard work later, he was back playing the sport he’s loved since he was 6.

“The biggest thing that kept me going was my mindset, my faith, my family, the training staff and Dr. Kaplan. He was always positive. I could have gone anywhere to have my surgery, but I have a lot of trust in Dr. Kaplan,” Marks said.

Team physician with the Jaguars for seven years, including three as the head physician, Dr. Kaplan reconstructed Marks’ ACL in January using his patellar tendon. While the surgical technique is the same as for a non-athlete, the healing process for a professional athlete begins soon after the injury occurs on the field.

“In one moment, something an athlete has excelled in their entire life is dramatically altered,” Dr. Kaplan said. “Not only do I consider an ACL reconstruction a challenge for the athlete physically, but it is also a daunting psychological journey that he or she must go through in order to return to play.”

“Watching an athlete like Sen’Derrick run out on the field again for the first time and play that first game since being injured is truly the most rewarding part of this job,” Dr. Kaplan added.

Dr. Kaplan

Image of Dr. Kaplan and Jags Player

Sen'Derrick Marks

Image Sen’Derrick Marks

PHOTO CAPTION:
Head Jaguars team physician Kevin Kaplan, MD, JOI orthopaedic surgeon, talks with Sen’Derrick Marks about his recovery.
CREDIT: Photos provided by Jacksonville Jaguars

– Sen’Derrick Marks

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