February 7, 2024

In 2021, Zoe Lahanas, then a high school freshman, was a competitive athlete in soccer, swim, and track and field.

Zoe strained her left knee playing soccer, so she took a break from it. She continued with track and won a medal for high jump. The day after that win, she returned to soccer and injured her meniscus and tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee.

The family wanted a physician who could perform a newer technique for ACL reconstruction, called a quad tendon autograft.

“We interviewed three doctors to find the best one,” said Zoe’s mother, Samantha Strong, also a doctor.

The best one was Colin Mansfield, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG), who practices in the Kaiser Permanente Diablo Sports Medicine Department.

“Dr. Mansfield is on the cutting edge,” Dr. Strong said. “Zoe went from not being able to do anything in July to winning huge track meets the following April because of the ACL surgery.”

She benefited from Kaiser Permanente’s integrated sports rehab teams, which use a data-driven approach that focuses on getting athletes back to their chosen sport. Zoe’s diligence and dedication, as well as the care from the surgical and physical therapy teams, led to her successful recovery.

“Zoe has really been able to excel,” Dr. Mansfield said. “As soon as she returned to sports, she was making personal records.”

A whole-team approach

Sports medicine doctors work with athletic trainers at local high schools. Zoe’s athletic trainer at her high school diagnosed her ACL tear and contacted a Kaiser Permanente sports medicine doctor who got Zoe an appointment within two days.

“That kind of communication and facilitation of care is really what makes the system so phenomenal,” Dr. Strong said.

As a busy referral site for challenging surgeries and injuries from other areas, the department offers the full spectrum of sports care, from advanced athlete recovery programs to state-of-the-art joint restoration procedures.

“Something that maybe not everyone understands about Kaiser Permanente is that we really are working at the highest levels with the newest technology,” Dr. Mansfield said. “Our team approach has created an incredibly unique partnership, which has been the secret to our success. I’ve been so fortunate to be inspired and learn from so many talented mentors and colleagues within our department.”

Brigham Wise, MD, a TPMG sports medicine physician in the Kaiser Permanente Diablo Sports Medicine Department, says the department’s strengths are its integration and collaboration.

“It’s a whole-team approach, and we have great physicians and surgeons and excellent [physical] therapists,” Dr. Wise said. “We also focus on prevention to keep patients on the field rather than in our office.”

Getting patients back to doing what they love

The Kaiser Permanente Diablo Sports Medicine Department’s priority is to return patients to their normal activities as soon and as safely as possible. The group serves a large and diverse population. Patients range in age and goals.

“I really enjoy helping people get back to doing what they love,” said Dr. Wise. “That includes high school and college athletes, as well as the weekend warriors who just want to get back to playing pickleball or running their next marathon.”

Now a high school senior, Zoe Lahanas was able get back to the sport she loves.

Zoe is a track star winning medals in the Junior Olympics and is being recruited actively by NCAA Division 1 colleges.

“What they have done at Kaiser Permanente in making things right is amazing,” Dr. Strong said. “Kaiser has done an incredible job of taking care of us.”

This story originally appeared on MyKP.