Category: Sports Medicine Patient Stories

Haven Kirby – Patient Story

“I was terrified. I was scared I might lose my scholarship, nervous for what was ahead of me, but Dr. Stanford gave me the confidence I needed. He made me feel hopeful I would be 100% by the time I got here & I made it… I am here!” — Haven Kirby, patient of Dr. Stanford

Haven Kirby was an Elkmont High School student-athlete, enjoying what many say is the best school year of your life: her senior year.  So many exciting things had already transpired, but the highlight was when she was offered a softball scholarship to the University of North Alabama in Florence. She was looking so forward to taking that next step and bringing her softball career to the next level. She had verbally committed to the Lions, but not yet signed.

The date was November 13, 2019 and only 3 minutes into Haven’s first basketball game, something went wrong.  Haven was attempting a layup when her defender was going for a block and accidentally pushed Haven. Haven then fell on her right leg and heard a “pop”.  She had hyperextended her knee and could not get back up. She was in excruciating pain and knew something terrible had happened.  “The Ardmore Athletic Trainer was at our game that night, and helped me. I was terrified.”

The next day, Haven had an appointment with Dr. Eric Stanford.  An MRI was scheduled and revealed a gruesome injury.  Haven had torn her ACL to shreds, and torn her meniscus and MCL. Surgery was scheduled for November 22, the day before Thanksgiving.  That day couldn’t get here fast enough for Haven.  “I was in so much pain—it felt like the day of surgery was taking forever to get here!”

The surgery was a great success for both Haven and Dr. Stanford.  After completing four months of therapy, she was fully released in April to play sports.  Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had come, along with several restrictions for Haven.  But she adjusted.  During the summer months, she eased back into travel softball to build stamina prior to starting at the University of North Alabama this fall. A little fun fact—Haven had verbally committed to UNA prior to her accident, but actually signed after her surgery. She credits Dr. Stanford for her great success.


Eric Stanford, DO | The Orthopaedic Center | Athens, ALDr. Eric Stanford is a member of the Athens TOC Sports Medicine team and is the team physician for many schools across Limestone County and Athens City.  He also specializes in the treatment of Joint Replacement, Regenerative Medicine and General Orthopaedics. Dr. Stanford brings his expertise and care to the TOC Athens, Rogersville and Winfield locations.

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Wheeler Dickerson – Patient Story

Wheeler Dickerson is your all-around competitive athlete who wants to see his team finish on top. His team, Lauderdale County High, was competing in the first round of football playoffs last fall against Sylvania when, during the third quarter, his knee rolled and popped in the middle of a tackle. Wheeler, feeling defeated and frustrated, came off the field and didn’t return for the rest of the game. The athletic trainer checked his knee. His knee didn’t feel loose; however, it was starting to swell.

Lauderdale County won the game that night, securing their spot in the second round of playoffs. Wheeler wasn’t going to miss this opportunity; he rallied and played in the next game. Unfortunately, Wheeler’s knee was no better.

During Wheeler’s freshman year of high school, he had a torn labrum that required surgery. Dr. Bill Lawrence performed this surgery and “did an amazing job,” according to Wheeler. “When I messed up my knee I knew I was going back to Dr. Lawrence because he had done so well with my shoulder.”

Wheeler immediately knew he would be paying Dr. Lawrence a visit after his knee injury. Dr. Lawrence ordered an MRI, where they learned Wheeler’s ACL was in fact torn.

Wheeler had the Allograft ACL reconstruction done in February. His surgery was very successful. After Wheeler’s surgery he completed physical therapy. He is back to playing football for his senior year and shooting for a football scholarship for college. He is hoping the make it to the playoffs again this year.

“Dr. Lawrence is such a good guy in general. He’s a good guy to talk to even when you don’t have an injury. He’s friendly, makes you feel comfortable, and takes care of you in general. I have had two surgeries with Dr. Lawrence—and will always recommend him.”


Bill Lawrence, DO | The Orthopaedic Center | Athens, AL

Dr. Bill Lawrence practices general orthopaedics and focuses his practice on Total Joint Replacement, Sports Medicine, and Hand Procedures. Dr. Lawrence is part of the TOC Athens Sports Medicine team.  He sees patients in Athens, Madison, and Florence.

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Dalton Barkley – Patient Story

TOC patient Dalton BarkleyIt was a cold February evening earlier this year when Dalton Barkley had a game he would never forget.   He was in his senior year playing basketball for the University of Alabama in Huntsville when his season was cut short by a serious knee injury.  UAH was on the road in Memphis, and toward the end of the first half, Dalton went up for a rebound.  He and the opponent jumped for the ball at the same time and collided.  The opposing player hit the outside of Dalton’s knee, causing his kneecap to pop out and then back into place.  Dalton was in so much pain. “I was panicking. I came off the court to the sideline. I was scared.”  The Athletic Trainers wrapped ice around his knee and Dalton rode the bus home. Dalton’s mom was familiar with the reputation Dr. Patrick Boyett had established and didn’t hesitate to make an appointment, as soon as possible.

When Dalton saw Dr. Boyett, an MRI revealed he had torn his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in his left knee and suffered a bone bruise. The game-plan? Rest, then surgery to repair the torn ligament in his knee.

Dr. Boyett and his team waited a month before scheduling Dalton’s surgery, in order to allow the bone bruise to heal.   Unfortunately, the COVID 19 pandemic hit, and surgery was postponed until May 7th. “It was a blessing in disguise. I was able to exercise for quad strength, etc. prior to surgery.”  Dalton’s Athletic Trainer gave him exercises to help prepare him and make him stronger for surgery.  “Because of the time I was able to focus on my strength.  My recovery process was amazing. The way Dr. Boyett performed my surgery was amazing.  I had minimal swelling. I am really happy with how everything turned out.” Dalton highly recommends Dr. Boyett for injury treatment and surgery—he had a wonderful experience from start to finish.

“Dr. Boyett is friendly, outgoing, and confident. He made me feel a lot better about the entire process – especially after finding out that the knee was torn. He explained to me what the timeline looked like and was very detail oriented. This is the first time I’ve had surgery besides my wisdom teeth; I was anxious and nervous, and Dr. Boyett calmed my nerves,” says Dalton.

Dalton graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in May with a degree in Civil Engineering. He is currently working for Noah Basketball.


Patrick Boyett, D.O. | The Orthopaedic Center | Athens AL

Dr. Patrick Boyett is a member of the Athens TOC Sports Medicine team and is the team physician for many schools across Limestone County and Athens City.  He also specializes in the treatment of Hip, Knee and Shoulder conditions. Dr. Boyett brings his expertise and care to the TOC Athens location.

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Brown Family – Patient Story

“I have nothing but high praise for [Dr. Carter]. When you meet him, you’ll like him, and you’ll know why others do, too.” – Greg Brown
To say that the game of basketball is a family affair in the Brown household might be the understatement of the year.  The patriarch of the team, Greg, played the game most of his life and has spent the last 20 years coaching the game at Lee High School. His sons, Kobe and Kaleb, both have played the game since childhood. Kobe played for his dad at Lee and is now a sophomore playing for the University of Missouri men’s basketball team. Younger brother Kaleb is scheduled to follow big brother Kobe to Missouri after one more year at Lee with his father. It’s easy to see how important basketball is to this family and what a great opportunity Greg had to coach his sons throughout high school. He was able to teach them everything they needed to know about the game:  fundamentals, plays, and even techniques. As Lee High School’s Head Boys Basketball Coach and through personal experience, Greg also had the chance to teach them and his entire team about Team Physician Dr. Brian Carter, and how critical it is to have someone like him on your bench.

Athletes who make it through a season without accident or injury are fortunate. The same could be said of those who navigate through life without incident. Greg went many years before he needed to see an orthopaedic physician. It wasn’t until a fender-bender aggravated his upper back and shoulder that Coach needed to see Dr. Carter. He needed quick relief, but appreciated Doc’s patience. “Getting in to see him is no problem. He gets us in ASAP. But he is never in a rush… He never gives you the feeling that he’s rushing you. He is quite thorough.” These characteristics held high value in Coach Brown’s book, particularly when his sons began to play for him at Lee.

Throughout his career, Coach has always put the safety of his sons and team first. So, when his oldest son, Kobe, injured his foot and later dislocated his shoulder, there was never any hesitation as to where Coach was taking his son. Even recently, when younger brother Kaleb injured his groin, and later a finger on the court, Dr. Carter was who Coach wanted his sons to see. “He goes through all the steps with you and explains both sides of the coin for you. He’s very flexible…meaning, if there’s an injury and he believes there is a way to return the athlete to play, he’ll find it and test it.  He puts your interests first.”

Coach Brown recalls one particular instance when Kobe was facing the possibility of having surgery on his shoulder but sought that trusted second opinion from Dr. Carter. “We were out of town when Kobe hurt his shoulder. We went to a local physician who told us that Kobe needed surgery to correct the issue, otherwise he would continue to have problems. After we came home, I took Kobe to see Dr. Carter. He understood the situation, but said, ‘Let’s try something else.’ Doc said rest and rehab could do the trick, and it did. Kobe put the work in and his shoulder healed fine with no problems.”

Greg enters his 23rd year with Lee High School and his 20th year coaching boys’ basketball. Kobe is entering his sophomore year at the University of Missouri. Kaleb is a senior at Lee, with one more year with Dad as his coach. Once finished, Kaleb will join his brother at the University of Missouri as a part of the men’s basketball team.


Brian R. Carter, M.D.Dr. Brian Carter is an orthopaedic specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and a member of The Orthopaedic Center Sports Medicine Team. He specializes in the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of soft tissue, neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders. He is Team Physician for Huntsville Havoc Hockey and several area schools and club teams. Dr. Carter brings his expertise and care to our Huntsville and Madison locations.

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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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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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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!