Twenty-three year old professional footballer Conor Pepper – who plays for Greenock Morton FC – had had problems with his knee since February 2016 after he felt his kneecap come away during a championship match against Hibernian FC.
Following a scan, local consultants agreed his cartilage was damaged and needed to be cleaned up, so Conor had an operation followed by rehabilitation. However when he returned to full training, his knee caused him excruciating pain in a game and he had to be carried off the pitch.
The football club’s physiotherapists rehabilitated the injury again but Conor’s knee broke down two more times. Following further scans, the consultants couldn’t see any ligament damage and believed it was the cartilage which was causing the knee to continually break down.
Conor said: “The injury would always occur when my leg would open up to whip the ball or cross a ball and my kneecap would often feel loose when running or playing longer passes. I decided to seek a second opinion and researched specialists in knee damage. After sending a report to Prof Adrian Wilson and a single short consultancy visit he was able to pinpoint the ligament and why it wasn’t showing on scans.”
In April 2017, Adrian performed a medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction to repair Conor’s injury. He also ensured Conor had a personal full time rehabilitation programme.
“In early December I ran for the first time on a treadmill and by the end of December I was using a ball in drills with my physio at the club. After full training for two to three months I completed 70 minutes in a reserve game for the first time in just over two years in March 2018,” said Conor.
“I had carried out some research on ligament damage in footballers and read things like ‘the nightmare for footballers’ and that there aren’t many cases of similar injuries. Adrian was always confident of a fix and that definitely helped in my decision to go ahead with the operation. I will always be grateful to Adrian for his approach and expertise and the opportunity this has given me to continue with my career after two years out injured.”
Adrian said he was delighted with the outcome for Conor.
“Conor had cortisone injections and subsequently an arthroscopy, which confirmed a significant retropatellar chondral lesion. He was also noted to have some instability. He came to see me because of my expertise in ligament reconstruction and underwent an MPFL reconstruction in April of last year. I am delighted that he has done so well with the surgery and that he is now back to playing without any symptoms whatsoever.”