Healthier Together

Winter 2018 issue
 
     
A home run for healing

A home run for healing

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For as long as he can remember, Donnie Forgacs, a sales representative for Carahsoft, a private government contractor, and recent graduate of Shenandoah University from Northern Virginia, has been obsessed with baseball. From T-ball to high school to playing third base for Shenandoah, baseball has always been a part of his life.

“I’ve always loved the game and the competitiveness,” Forgacs said. “Not only do you have to be athletic, but also extremely intelligent.”

So you can imagine how the Shenandoah junior felt when he sustained a “Jones fracture” in his left foot while rounding first base during a scrimmage in February 2016.

“A Jones fracture is just a type of fracture involving the fifth metatarsal bone, but the reason it has a name is it can have a delayed healing time,” said Christopher Highfill, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Northern Virginia Orthopaedic Specialists, who treated Forgacs. “It has been associated with prolonged recovery.”

Forgacs took a few months off to let the injury heal naturally and returned to playing that summer. In the fall, during the first semester of his senior year, Forgacs was running the bases and heard a familiar popping sound in his foot.

The pain led him to Dr. Highfill, who explained that Forgacs had re-fractured his foot and would either need to take months off again to heal or treat it surgically. While surgery is not usually recommended for first-time Jones fractures, in Forgacs’ case surgery was an option because he had already gone through the healing process once.

“It was either get the surgery and try to play again or not get the surgery and not be able to finish out my four years [on the Shenandoah University baseball team],” he said. “I really didn’t have a choice; I wanted to play.”

After having surgery in December 2016, it only took about six weeks of healing before Forgacs felt strong enough to get back on the field. He was mostly pain-free, other than on a few cold days with howling winds. Because of his quick recovery, he was able to start at third base for the majority of his senior year season, and he helped Shenandoah baseball achieve its best winloss record (41-10) in the club’s history.

“It was a pretty special year,” Forgacs said. “I was happy to be a part of it. I miss it every day.”

The Shenandoah baseball team ended up finishing in the top 10 in the country, and Forgacs was voted “most inspirational player” by his teammates for fighting back from his fracture. However, even in light of the accolades, what’s more important to Forgacs was being there for his team. •