MIAMI (WSVN) - A spinal injury could have forced a young aspiring athlete to abandon her love for gymnastics. Now, she’s back on the beam, thanks to a South Florida doctor.
Fourteen-year-old Ella Chase has been taking gymnastics classes since she was 7 years old, but after she started feeling some back pain, the Orlando native received news that would change her life.
“I had a pars stress fracture at the L5-S1, and that was kinda like, hard to hear a little bit,” said Chase.
Chase had a stress fracture in her spine. Doctors said the injury would never heal properly, and the competitive gymnast would have to leave the sport.
“Kind of really devastating to hear, because gymnastics has been such a big part of my life, and like, to think that I wouldn’t be able to do it, I wasn’t ready to give it up,” said Chase.
That’s when her parents found Dr. Allan Levi, the chief of neurosurgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“When we met with him, he was able to find a solution in less than five minutes,” said Chase.
“We did propose to her and her family an operation that was minimally invasive to ultimately fuse the lower spine,” said Levi.
The family traveled to South Florida for Chase’s surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She spent the next seven months recovering and working with physical therapists and coaches to get back on the beam.
“Once we got X-rays and CT scans to make sure everything healed, you know, she remarked on her journey,” said Levi.
“I’m back to vaulting, and tumbling and doing bars and beams, not necessarily full as I was before injury, but it’s getting there,” said Chase.
She’s one step closer to accomplishing her dreams of competing at the collegiate level and eventually going to the Olympics.
“What could have been a road block was just merely a speed bump because of the people here at this hospital, and her dreams are not on hold at the moment, they are actually continuing,” said Chase’s father, Paul.
Chase’s parents said they hope her story will help other young gymnasts with the same injury.
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