Author: The Orthopaedic Center (TOC)

Robert Lang – Patient Story

Robert has spent most of his life being active and involved.  Since he was five years old, he had spent most days playing soccer and swimming.  He had never had a serious injury until his junior year of high school. While at soccer practice participating in a drill called “keep away,” Robert reached for the ball.  As he turned, he twisted his right knee and immediately knew something was not right.

Robert’s mother, Angie, took him to see his pediatrician.  He recommended that Robert see Dr. Matt Smith, a sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon at TOC, because of his expertise in knee-related injuries and conditions.  Angie scheduled an appointment with Dr. Smith the following week, at which point Dr. Smith ordered an MRI.  It confirmed that Robert did indeed have an ACL tear in his right knee.

Dr. Smith explained to Robert what the MRI had revealed and that he would need surgery to repair the torn ligament.  On June 11th, 2020, Robert had ACL surgery. “It was a straightforward process, and Dr. Smith and his team were great! They thoroughly explained and guided us through the process,” said Angie, Robert’s mom.

Despite being nervous about his sports future, Robert was comfortable with Dr. Smith from the beginning. The family loved how Dr. Smith and his team were so great, every step of the way. The team made themselves available to answer any questions or concerns the family had during Robert’s recovery journey.

Now, a little over three months later, Robert has been cleared to swim and play soccer.  He just swam in his first meet since his surgery, completing his first 100-yard butterfly event.  He did great and is back to swimming with no pain. He’s expected to be cleared for his senior year of soccer in the spring of 2021.

“We would unquestionably recommend TOC – The Orthopaedic Center to anyone facing any orthopaedic issue,” says Angie.

Robert is a senior this year at Albertville High School, and plans to go on a two-year mission trip once he graduates high school.

Dr. Matthew Smith, DO | The Orthopaedic Center | Guntersville, Boaz AL

Dr. Matthew Smith is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with TOC – The Orthopaedic Center who completed his undergraduate studies at the University of South Alabama and then attended medical school at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Afterwards, he completed his internship and residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Botsford General Hospital in Farmington Hills, Michigan.  His interests include sports medicine and joint replacement.  During his training he participated in the care of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, and Detroit Red Wings players.  He currently is involved with several local high school and community college athletic departments.

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Jerald Hutnik – Patient Story

Whether you’re a fan, a player, or both, once the love of sport gets ahold of you, it never lets go.  Long after your prime playing days are in the rearview mirror, there is always that inner athlete that hungers to continue that competitive spirit.  You could certainly count Jerald Hutnik as one of those athletes.  He is a lover of soccer and had been playing at a high level since high school.  Jerald was a highly sought-after D1 soccer player, who later played professionally overseas, as well as for the U.S. NATO teams.  Throughout all his competitions and even today, Jerald has always considered himself lucky that he had never sustained an injury from playing soccer.  As a goalie, you use both your hands AND feet…a position that over time, could see some wear and tear on your joints and muscles.  After playing for years, that was something that Jerald was prepared for.  What he didn’t see coming was a pair of injuries that put him on the path to see Dr. James Hughey.

Jerald is the type of athlete who will give his all, even if his body has other plans.  That mindset was in play one day when, while playing in an Adult Premiere League, he hyper-extended and tore the biceps in his left arm, attempting to block a kick.  Jerald had his arm repaired by Dr. Hughey and was able to return to play.  A little more than a year later, Jerald found himself back on the playing field.  Feeling strong and confident at goalie, Jerald was back and “Game Ready.”  Unfortunately, in the middle of a game while attempting to throw a ball in to play, he injured his right arm in the exact same way he did his left.

Jerald found himself in a very familiar spot, after having seen Dr. Hughey once before for the same injury.  “I had worked with his staff the first time, and they were all so polite and friendly.  They remembered me and my case.  I wasn’t just another number,” says Hutnik.  “Dr. Hughey was right on point with my diagnosis.  There was no guessing.  He told me everything I needed to know, before I needed to know it.  Doc was very knowledgeable, friendly and had a great bedside manner, which is very important to me.”  Jerald explains how both surgeries and recoveries went very well, with no problems at all.  “These guys are quality pros.  They treat you right and you’re going to have great service.  When you have folks who are knowledgeable and friendly, you’ll have a great experience.”

Jerald has made a 100% recovery from his injuries, and although he isn’t playing as much as before, he gets much enjoyment from being the head soccer coach for two club teams and a local school.

Dr. James T. Hughey

Dr. James Hughey is an orthopaedic surgeon and a member of The Orthopaedic Center Sports Medicine Team. Before joining TOC, Dr. Hughey completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine at Andrews Research and Orthopedic Institute in Gulf Breeze, FL, where he served as team physician for area high schools and served as assistant team physician for Pensacola’s Cincinnati Reds AA baseball team.

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When to See a Specialist for Your Child’s Knee Pain

Children fall, overdo it playing sports, combined with bending, climbing and stretching the wrong way. Sometimes they may complain about it, and then never mention it again. But other times the pain becomes severe and doesn’t go away. It is important to know when to see a specialist for your child’s knee pain.

Continue reading “When to See a Specialist for Your Child’s Knee Pain”

Zach Taylor – Patient Story

Zach, Sports Medicine Patient | The Orthopaedic Center | Huntsville, ALOne of the most exciting things about being a young student-athlete is the potential opportunity to play at the collegiate level. The off-season is a time for an athlete to grow, learn, and improve upon areas they may have been challenged with in the previous season or the time to improve upon their overall game. Conditioning, weights, and practices are all areas athletes focus on to bring their game to the next level.

Zach Taylor, a Division I prospect and James Clemens High school football standout, was faced with this challenge when he injured his knee during a routine off-season practice. The 6-foot, 5-inch 320-pound offensive lineman took a hit to the side of his knee when another player landed on it awkwardly.  Trainers from the Huntsville Hospital Sports Center attended to his injury and brought Zach in to see the Team Physician, Dr. John Greco. With only weeks to go before the start of the season, Dr. Greco examined Zach, gathered additional imaging, and felt Zach could play through the season with the aid of a brace and rehabilitation. Indeed, Zach was able to finish his junior year, and accumulate more than two dozen scholarship offers in the process.

After his season ended, Dr. Greco addressed his knee surgically and Zach then started the rehab process all over again. Zach states that one of the hardest parts of his recovery was rebuilding his confidence while rehabbing the strength in his knee. Zach had difficulty with getting his stride back during the spring season following his surgery, but he was able to come back stronger than ever for his senior football season. Life has a way of throwing you a curveball, sometimes you land in the sand-trap, or other times you fumble the ball, but the way he recovered from those setbacks shows true determination and grit.

Says Zach: “Dr. Greco made things easy for me to understand and took the time to explain everything to me. He knew it was a very important time for me as I was being recruited by many schools… but, he reassured me that I would be just fine, and I would be ready. I ended up with 20 scholarship offers.  Dr. Greco was always honest, so it was easy to trust what he said. His team treated me great, which I really appreciated. The Athletic Trainers, along with his team, provide me with a top-shelf experience.”

Zach has accepted an offer to play football for the University of Alabama-Birmingham for the 2020 season.

Dr. John J. GrecoDr. John Greco is a member of The Orthopaedic Center’s Sports Medicine Team and board-certified in orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine. He specializes in arthroscopic and open reconstruction of the knee and shoulder. Dr. Greco is Chief of Huntsville Hospital’s Sports Medicine program and is Team Physician for Alabama A&M University, Huntsville Havoc Hockey, City of Madison and multiple other schools and counties.  Dr. Greco is a volunteer Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the University of Alabama in Birmingham Medical School.  Dr. Greco brings his expertise and care to our Huntsville, Madison and Scottsboro locations.

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Joel Schrenk – Patient Story

Joel Schrenk loves football and has coached football at the high school level for 25 years.

Shortly before the start of the 2019 season, Coach Schrenk accepted the job as the Head Coach for Hazel Green High School football. It wasn’t long after he arrived that he was introduced to Team Physician Dr. Stan Davis and the rest of the sports medicine team; however, Coach was surprised to learn the next time he would see Dr. Davis wouldn’t be on the football field, but in his office at TOC.

Shortly after the start of the 2019 season, Joel’s left shoulder started to hurt. The pain built up to a point that it would keep him up at night. It hurt so much that just handing money to a drive-through cashier was very uncomfortable.  But, no matter how much it hurt, dealing with his injury during football season was just not part of the game plan for Coach.

He first spoke with one of the school’s Certified Athletic Trainers (AT) about his pain, and they gave Coach some exercises that helped him make it through the season. The exercises helped, but the Athletic Trainers knew Coach would need to follow-up with Dr. Davis to repair the damage that was at the root of all his pain.  Dr. Davis took a look at Coach’s shoulder and discovered he had tears caused by bone spurs and needed to have his labrum cleaned up as well.

Coach Schrenk on the Hazel Green football sidelineJoel already knew that Dr. Davis, one of TOC’s Sports Medicine Specialists, had helped several athletes on the Hazel Green football team with their injuries. The Athletic Trainers from Huntsville Hospital Sports Center and Dr. Davis work seamlessly together to provide a comprehensive sports medicine program for Hazel Green High School – a program designed to help everyone with their orthopaedic needs.

For Coach, experiencing the care of Dr. Davis on a personal level stood out to him in very memorable way.  He was so impressed that Dr. Davis asked to pray with him before his surgery.

Coach’s shoulder was repaired, and he was well on his way to returning to the sidelines.  He attributes his success to Dr. Davis’ expertise and a strong rehabilitation program for making a real difference.  “The rehabilitation process was not easy. But if you put in the hard work, and do what they tell you, you will heal and do well.”

When asked what you would want others to know about Dr. Davis, Joel quickly answered, “Oh man, He’s good. He has an excellent bedside manner; he’s an encourager and I have confidence in Dr. Davis.”

Dr. Stanton Davis | The Orthopaedic Center

Dr. Stan Davis, former team physician for the San Francisco 49ers and Auburn University, is a member of the TOC Sports Medicine Team and specializes in arthroscopy and the treatment of the shoulder, elbow and knee. Double board certified in orthopaedic surgery and orthopaedic sports medicine, with advanced training in the rehabilitation and surgical treatment of injuries in active people, Dr. Davis utilizes the latest techniques, including orthobiologics, such as stem cell and platelet rich plasma, to reduce pain and speed his patients’ return to peak performance.

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Sean Webster – Patient Story

As a young and talented athlete, it’s only natural to explore all avenues of sport to determine the ones you like, and the ones where your talents shine brightest.  For Sean Webster, his skills were never brighter than when he was on the football field.  This James Clemens High School senior had strapped a helmet to his head since he was 5-years old, but it was a short stint on the wrestling team his sophomore year that brought this athlete to see Dr. Michael Cantrell.

Shortly after beginning his freshman year, Sean picked up the sport of wrestling.  His time was cut short the following season after suffering a serious knee injury.  Sean worked through physical therapy, but both he and his parents were not seeing improvements.  With his condition in limbo, Sean began to wonder if he would ever be 100% again, or if he would ever play sports again.  He had his sights set on joining the Air Force Academy – but even that future was in jeopardy.  Sean was heartbroken.  Dr. Cantrell and his team went to work knowing exactly what they needed to do to help Sean:  fix his knee and assure him his dreams were very much still in sight.

After performing a medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction, Dr. Cantrell was successful in stabilizing Sean’s knee.  He was on the road to recovery.  But Sean’s recovery was going to take a lot of work and sometimes, it’s not uncommon for rehabilitating patients to have thoughts of frustration and doubt.   “Dr. Cantrell worked with Sean and got it out of his head,” says Sean’s mother, Rikki.  “You’ve got it!  Dr. Cantrell told him…You are good to go!  You can do this!”

Dr. Cantrell continued to use Sean’s follow-up appointments to help “coach” him through his rehabilitation.  He reminded Sean to stay strong, not to get frustrated and know that he had the entire Cantrell team in his corner.  That was just the encouragement he needed to make it back to the football field for his junior year and help the James Clemens Jets to another winning season.

“Dr. Cantrell was very thorough and helped make the process stress-free.  We loved his staff and encourage anyone who may be going through something similar to just hang on.  Stay the course, stay committed and don’t give up.”

Dr. Michael Cantrell - The Orthopaedic Center

Dr. Michael Cantrell is a member of The Orthopaedic Center Sports Medicine Team. Board certified in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, Dr. Cantrell specializes in arthroscopic and open reconstruction of the shoulder and knee. This includes shoulder and knee arthroscopy, tendon repair, and ligament reconstruction.

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Janet Moore – Patient Story

Dr. Seymour's patient Janet Moore holding her grandbaby.
“Dr. Seymour made sure to try everything he could before he had to perform surgery. He made me feel like I was in the best hands because he was not just trying to put me into surgery.” — Janet Moore

Janet has been a patient of Dr. Morris Seymour for years. She has had a few surgeries done by Dr. Seymour, one of which was a spinal fusion. Janet jokes that she has gone through enough surgeries by Dr. Seymour that she should be his poster patient!

Janet loves to spend time with her grandchildren, and also spends many hours in the kitchen whipping up tasty treats. She enjoys baking and loves to share her treats with others. Because Janet encountered a lot of pain with her back, she was unable to do the things she loves most. Once she had enough of the pain, she scheduled an appointment to see Dr. Seymour at TOC.

The first impression Janet experienced with TOC was nothing less than amazing. She was highly pleased with the fact the staff took such good care of her during every visit she makes to the TOC office. Janet was extremely impressed with how caring Dr. Seymour and his team were during her time with them. Janet also loved that they took the time to listen to her concerns about her back pain, and that they explained very clearly what she needed to do to get better so that she could get back into the kitchen baking, and holding her grandchild.

Janet went as long as she could with nonsurgical treatment, but she still struggled with some pain. Since she was not getting rid of her pain completely, she decided to proceed with the spinal fusion procedure.  On the day after her surgery, Janet was able to get out of bed and get moving. She knew that Dr. Seymour wanted her to get up and try to get around, even if it was just a little bit. Determined to recover well, Janet pushed through and was able to walk around the entire hallway. She also recalls that one of the nurses asked if she wanted to try to walk around with a walker, but she was able to answer proudly that she “had already walked without it throughout the hallway.” Because of Dr. Seymour’s excellent skills in surgery, and the hard work Janet has put into her recovery plan, she is doing very well. She says, “I give a lot of the credit to Dr. Seymour. I will always trust Dr. Seymour, and if I ever need spine surgery again, he will be the doctor I will call.”

Dr. Morris B. SeymourDr. Seymour is a member of The Orthopaedic Center Spine Team. He specializes in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of disorders of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar problems of the spine, utilizing minimally invasive and traditional techniques.

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Annie Boyd – Patient Story

Annie Boyd is a very thoughtful, active, artsy 3 year old.

Annie was Carrie and Andrew Boyd’s first child. As with any new parent, they weren’t sure what a normal crawler was supposed to look like. They were just enjoying each milestone. The Boyds took Annie to the pediatrician for her 9-month check-up, and as the pediatrician manipulated her hips, he realized there was an issue. The Boyds immediately knew something was up.

Dr. Horton, Annie’s pediatrician, sent Annie immediately for an ultrasound. Dr. Horton called Andrew, Annie’s dad, 4 days later to let them know it was Hip Dysplasia (a hip socket that does not fully cover the ball portion of the upper thigh bone. This allows the hip joint to become partially or completely dislocated.) As any parent would be, Andrew was emotional and shocked as he went home to tell his wife that their Annie would need surgery.

The Boyds met with TOC’s Dr. Michael Lawley, who confirmed that Annie had Hip Dysplasia. He was very informative and confident, and gave two approaches to surgery—one less aggressive approach and one that was more invasive. The Boyds left feeling comforted and knew they were in great hands. Elizabeth, Dr. Lawley’s nurse practitioner, was empathetic and related to the Boyds, as she has a small child as well.

At 11 months old, Annie had her first surgery. After discussing the pros and cons to different treatment plans, Dr. Lawley’s team and the Boyds decided to try the most conservative approach initially.  Dr. Lawley explains the procedure: “We took Annie to the operating room and once she was asleep, I did a closed reduction technique where I use x-ray guidance, along with my hands to put the hip back in the socket. While she was asleep, I also made small incisions to release the tendons in the groin area that tend to hold the hips inward. This was done to give the closed reduction a better chance of working as well. We then placed her into a spica cast to hold the hip in place.” She was in a cast from her ankles to her armpits. Annie came home and recovered well. She could pull herself up—she found a way; mentally and physically, she was very strong. The Boyds worked hard as a team between changing diapers, bath time, and all the other tasks required to care for their recovering toddler.

Everything seemed to be going just fine until three weeks later, when the Boyds took Annie to have her casting changed, and they found out the first surgery didn’t take. The x-ray showed Annie’s hip had slipped out of place.  Although the Boyds understood this was a possibility when Annie had the surgery, they and Dr. Lawley were upset. “It was no fault of Dr. Lawley—it simply didn’t take.”  Dr. Lawley and his team immediately had a plan for the next steps.

Two weeks later, Annie went back to surgery with a more aggressive approach. Dr. Lawley again explains, “When the closed reduction failed we went with the more aggressive approach, which is making an incision along the thigh and opening the hip joint to get it aligned properly. This approach allows us to visualize the entire joint so I could remove the structures blocking reduction, place the hip back in place and tighten the capsular tissue that surrounds it to hold it in place further. She was then placed back into a spica cast while she healed.” This surgery took a lot longer than the first surgery… and in the end, the surgery was successful!  When Annie had her surgery, Dr. Lawley asked if he could pray before the surgery. “It was humbling and sincere. He prayed for his hands and for Annie’s body. It showed that he cared about what he does and that he cared about us.”

Elizabeth, Dr. Lawley’s nurse practitioner, was extremely calming with Annie and helped the Boyds navigate the process. Dr. Lawley came to the hospital and visited with the family.  Annie was in a cast for six weeks.  Dr. Lawley always took the time to explain the x-rays and walk through the progress of her surgery and recovery.

Annie’s cast was removed when she was 14 months old, and now Annie had no idea how to sit up! She had to re-learn how to sit up, and then had to wear a brace for 6 to 10 weeks. She was a very determined little girl, and her muscles became stronger and she was able to become more active. “This journey is harder on the parents then the child—Annie always found ways to cope. We let her figure it out,” said Carrie Boyd.

The Boyds went to see Dr. Lawley for follow up appointments every three months at first, then six months, and now just every year. She has officially caught up with her peers! Dr. Lawley assured Annie’s parents that she was fine to participate in sports and physical activities. And he was right: she loves dance, ballet, and soccer. It is wonderful to see Annie catch up to her peers and be able to participate in all the activities she wants to.

“You are in good hands with Dr. Lawley. He is so smart, he talks to you in layman terms, and explains things super well. He is very confident and has an amazing bedside manner—something you don’t always get with specialists.”


Annie enjoying her favorite activity: riding her bike!
Recovering after surgery to correct hip dysplasia

The Boyds hope that others will see there is light at the end of the tunnel with this journey of hip dysplasia. On days that you wonder, will your child walk again, will he/she play again – they will. “Dr. Lawley and Elizabeth escorted us through each of these chapters. They encouraged us to trust the process. There is a reason Dr. Lawley and Elizabeth are confident—they have done the hard work of school and lots of surgeries. We feel so fortunate that we have access to the best in Huntsville… you don’t have to go far to have this care. They are intelligent and caring.”


Dr. Michael G. LawleyDr. Michael Lawley specializes in pediatric orthopaedics. His interests and areas of expertise include sports injuries, fractures, growth plate injuries, scoliosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, clubfoot deformity, hip dysplasia, and limb length discrepancy.

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We want our patients to know that you can feel safe when visiting a TOC clinic

Please read below so that you can be confident in our clinic procedure and additional safety measures.

In compliance with recent policy changes in counties that we serve, and to provide the safest possible environment for our patients, effective immediately, all patients and any guests who enter any TOC facilities will be required to wear a mask or face covering. In the event a patient does not have a mask, TOC will provide one. We appreciate your compliance with our mask policy. As always, TOC will continue to provide exceptional orthopaedic care to our current and future patients in the safest environment possible.

We look forward to taking care of you!