“I just crumbled to the ground. I didn’t really know what was wrong.”

Sam Johnson, forward for the University of Jamestown Men’s Basketball team, has been playing basketball since he could walk. That made his serious knee injury in 2016 that much harder.

“My biggest fear since I was in 9th grade was tearing my ACL,” Johnson said. “I always heard about it as a basketball player. When it actually happened to me, those first two months were really hard.”

The ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament—one of four major ligaments which connect the femur to the tibia. ACL injuries are one of the most common knee injuries in athletics, and in most cases, require surgery.

“Getting patients returned to their prior level of function and beyond is very rewarding,” said Mac Cimbura, doctor of physical therapy at Jamestown Regional Medical Center. One of eight physical therapists at JRMC, Cimbura worked with Johnson during his six months of recovery. Cimbura studied physical therapy at the University of Mary, Bismarck. He has over seven years of physical therapy experience, practicing the last four years at JRMC.

“Mac was really good at making things competitive,” Johnson said. “When you’re an athlete, you have that competitive spirit. He made all of my activities competitive so it took my mind off of focusing on something specifically and just doing it.”

Part of Johnson’s therapy included walking on JRMC’s AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill®. The AlterG offers therapy for lower extremities by lowering body weight, which reduces the impact to the affected area. Jamestown Regional Medical Center is one of the only hospitals in the state to offer this kind of equipment.

“The AlterG treadmill was awesome,” Johnson said. “It helped me get my knee bend back. Once you’re in there it feels like you’re walking on a cloud. It’s bouncy and super weird, but it’s cool.”

After therapy with Cimbura and help from the University of Jamestown’s athletic trainers, Johnson was able to make a full recovery. He continued his basketball career during the 2016-2017 basketball season, helping the Jimmies earn a three-way tie for the NSAA regular season conference title.

“When I began playing again, I thought, ‘you just did six months of rigorous recovery. It’s a blessing to be playing again,’” Johnson said. “Now that I have one year left, I want to make the most of it.”

The 2017-2018 Jimmie Men’s Basketball season begins on Friday, October 13th against Brandon University of Manitoba at 7:30 p.m. The men will be preceded by the women’s team, playing the University of Manitoba at 5:30 p.m. Both match-ups will be played at the new Harold Newman Arena.

The JRMC Rehab Department offers free injury screenings. To schedule an appointment with a physical therapist, call (701) 952-4800. Learn more: www.jrmcnd.com/rehab