It was late October when Gabbie Cesarone was playing in a soccer game and went into a tackle against another girl.
The 12-year-old’s opponent got to the ball first, and the follow-through of the girl’s kick caught Cesarone on the wrist.
“It was like a tingling sensation almost, and I knew right away something happened,” she says.
So did her mother, Jonalee, who lives near St. Charles.
“Gabbie immediately threw her hand up and started running to the sideline,” Jonalee Cesarone says. “I knew something was wrong, because that child never raises her hand to come out.
“I’m a nurse … I knew it was probably serious.”
It was pretty serious — a broken wrist — and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Cesarone, a seventh-grader at Thompson Middle School in St. Charles, had a college showcase soccer tournament scheduled during the Thanksgiving holiday in Orlando, Fla.
The possibility of having to sit out was traumatic for her daughter, Jonalee Cesarone says, noting that the tournament was very competitive and didn’t take place every year.
“My first thought was, ‘Oh, gawd, am I going to be able to play in the tournament?’” Gabbie Cesarone recalls.
Come see the experts
Two days after the damaging soccer game, Jonalee Cesarone took her daughter to see Dr. Timothy Petsche, a sports medicine surgeon at Fox Valley Orthopedics in Geneva — a comprehensive orthopedic care practice founded in 1973. Petsche was able to custom fabricate a removable plastic cast for the young soccer player that allowed her to play throughout her healing process — including her big tournament.
“In a lot of clubs, you cannot have a hard cast on and play, and when she broke [her wrist], Dr. Petsche knew she was going to be playing in the [Discover ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex] in Orlando over Thanksgiving,” Jonalee Cesarone says. “He knew that she could not have any type of a hard cast, so it was nice for Gabbie because she was healed enough by the time the tournament came around she could slip out of her orthopedic and slip into a soft brace so she could play.”
“I know it was huge to her because that was her question driving over to the urgent care — what if I can’t play?”
Petsche, who has gained his 12 years of professional experience at Fox Valley Orthopedics, has been able to help countless athletes such as Gabbie Cesarone regain the ability to play their particular sport, sometimes faster than they initially thought.
The dozen orthopedic surgeons on hand at Fox Valley Orthopedics are all sub-specialists that excel in treating particular areas or disciplines such as sports medicine, foot and ankle, hand and upper extremity, spine and joint replacement. Each surgeon also is fellowship-trained, meaning they have gone through a higher level of training than most orthopedic specialists.
For athletes in particular, the subspecialists are important because they can customize treatments that will work for a particular patient’s situation.
“From sprained ankles to broken bones [to] ligament tears … we can decide what injuries can safely be played through and what injuries we need to keep them out,” Petsche says. “We’re often able to treat people without a [hard] cast and get them back in the game sooner.”
Devyn Rossi, 12, of South Elgin, is another soccer patient who recently found herself in front of Petsche with a fractured wrist just weeks before an important Midwest Regional League soccer tournament in St. Louis.
Petsche outfitted her with a removable plastic cast, too, which allowed the young girl to play in the tournament.
“He was really nice, and he was really careful with my arm,” the seventh-grader at Haines Middle School in St. Charles says. “I liked how he made the choice of giving me a removable cast so I could still play in the tournament … . He told me that I could be protected in a game and I could protect the other players, too, with the cast, so I like how he protected both my opponent and me.”
Welcome to OrthoFirst
Unfortunately, many people who require orthopedic care — a type of medicine that deals with bones, joints and muscles — don’t sustain their injuries during a typical 9-to-5 work day, when most orthopedic practices are open. Instead, many orthopedic patients, like Cesarone and Rossi, are student-athletes who play competitively after school or on weekends, and many others are adults who play recreationally after work.
Cesarone, for example, broke her wrist on a Saturday and had to go to an urgent care center for a first diagnosis, though her mother knew she probably needed to see an orthopedic specialist.
Even those who do suffer an injury during the weekday usually need to go to an urgent care center or a hospital emergency room for immediate assistance before setting up an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon simply because it can take time to arrange an appointment with a specialist.
But now, those who need immediate orthopedic care have a location to visit directly after sustaining an injury — OrthoFirst, Fox Valley Orthopedics’ own immediate care service center.
OrthoFirst gives patients same-day access to board-certified orthopedic surgeons — the same doctors on the Fox Valley Orthopedics team — through its new walk-in clinic and evening hours.
“I’ve wanted to do it for years,” Petsche says. “It was something the community really needed … especially in sports medicine. We have these young athletes competing, and when they get hurt, they want to see a specialist. It’s better to get them in right away.”
In the case of Devyn Rossi, seeing a specialist right away was key. Though she broke her wrist on a Sunday, she was able to get in to see Petsche the very next day, says her father, Joe.
“They got us in right away,” Rossi says. “[Dr. Petsche] looked at it, got it addressed, came up with a solution for us and we were thrilled she was still able to play.”
Petsche says when he was growing up, if people injured themselves, they went to the emergency room because they couldn’t get in to see a specialist.
Now, with OrthoFirst and its expanded hours, that shouldn’t be a problem any longer.
“I think the need was always there,” Petsche says. “Now, we’re just helping to fill that.”
Why choose OrthoFirst?
How is an orthopedic immediate care center any different from a regular urgent care center?
When a person twists or breaks an ankle sliding into home plate — or falling off a ladder while cleaning the gutters — and heads to a regular urgent care center or emergency room, good, knowledgeable doctors typically will take an X-ray or MRI, stabilize the patient’s ankle and perhaps provide pain medication.
Then, they’ll refer the patient to an orthopedic specialist.
Deciding to visit OrthoFirst, therefore, can save a patient time and money, Petsche says.
Instead of having an X-ray or MRI of a patient’s injured limb taken at a hospital and then taken a second time after the patient has been recommended to an orthopedic surgeon — who usually repeats the diagnostics to ensure accurate treatment — patients can cut down on the redundancy by simply going to see the orthopedic surgeon in the first place, he says.
OrthoFirst has all of the diagnostic equipment needed to determine treatment. And the co-pay for an OrthoFirst visit is the same as it would be if a patient went to see his or her regular doctor, instead of the higher fee of an urgent care center or emergency room.
Of course, not every type of injury is a good fit for OrthoFirst care. General urgent care centers are great for sudden or chronic illnesses, earaches, sore throats and other ailments.
But for those who suffer acute orthopedic injuries, OrthoFirst is the best place to go.
Such injuries include: fractures, sprains/strains, sports injuries, hand injuries, dislocations, muscle and joint pain, work injuries
It should be noted that patients don’t have to be young or athletic, Petsche notes. About half of his patients are adults who injure themselves at home or on the job.
The important thing is that they find the best care as quickly as possible.
“We want to give patients and our community immediate access to highly trained orthopedic experts at the time of injury, assuring them of the right diagnosis, treatment and a faster recovery time because they are seeing the appropriate orthopedic specialist first,” says Mary O’Brien, CEO at Fox Valley Orthopedics.
A community-centered practice
It’s not uncommon for community members to know the doctors at Fox Valley Orthopedics — which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year — outside of the office.
Four surgeons act as the team physicians of not only the Kane County Cougars, but also several local high schools, including St. Charles North, St. Charles East, Geneva, Batavia, Burlington and Kaneland.
Many of the doctors are raising their families in the area, too, like Petsche, who has four athletic children with his wife, Vicki.
In fact, that’s how Joe Rossi knew where to take Devyn when she hurt her wrist, he says — his youngest daughter plays on the same soccer team as one of Petsche’s daughters, so he called Petsche to find out what to do.
The Cesarone family, too, knows Petsche outside of the doctor’s office, Jonalee Cesarone says.
Before taking Gabbie to see Petsche, the mother of five had previously taken her oldest daughter, Olivia, 17, to be treated at the center. Plus, Petsche’s oldest daughter plays soccer with the Cesarone twins, Madeline and Isabella, 15.
All of Jonalee Cesarone’s children, including Dominic, 9, are athletic, she notes, which means the accessibility of Fox Valley Orthopedics and OrthoFirst, plus the fact her children know some of the doctors, has been great.
“[The doctors] treat a wide variety of orthopedic injuries, so it’s kind of nice to not be hunting around every time an injury comes up,” she says. “We had a great experience, and I think that having so many of the physicians there that are visible members of the community [makes patients] comfortable when they do have an injury they need to be seen for.” kc