Tough break reveals a silver lining for Madison



Madison was competing in the final game of the 2014 Real Cup girls’ soccer championship with the title in sight. A teammate kicked the ball ahead of her, and she saw her opportunity to score. Just as she lunged to kick the ball, the goalie ran out to stop it, colliding with her. As she lay on the field unable to get up because of the pain in her leg, her only question was:

“Did it go in?”

The good news was that Madison remarkably scored the goal. Her team went on to win the championship title and they dedicated the game to her. The bad news was that she would not be playing soccer anytime soon.

Treating the family

Madison was rushed to Children’s Hospital Colorado, where x-rays revealed that she had a displaced tibia and a fibula fracture, an injury that would require orthopedic surgery. She and her family were shaken up when they got the news, but Madison’s care team was able to put them at ease.

“The doctors and nurses were absolutely amazing,” said Madison “My nurse checked on me every 20 minutes to make sure I wasn’t in pain and she talked to my parents to make sure they were okay. I felt really comfortable the whole time.”

Madison and her family immediately formed a bond with her orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jason Stoneback, and her nurse, Maggie Leyendecker.

“We felt really comfortable that she was in good hands. They always took time to talk to us about what they were doing or what they were thinking,” said Madison’s mom, Sheila. “Children’s Colorado thinks of the patient’s families, too.”

Long road to recovery

Dr. Stoneback placed a permanent titanium rod in Madison’s tibia, spanning from her knee to her ankle. After a four-day hospital stay, she was sent home to face what she says was the hardest part of her journey, the long recovery period.

She was unable to walk for three months after surgery and had to use a wheelchair or crutches to get around. A huge adjustment for the active teen. It was another three months before her leg was healed enough to practice soccer and a full year until she was back to playing at her best.

Even though she faced months of missing what she loved, Madison remained optimistic.

“A lot of people were asking me if I was depressed, and I just remember I felt like everything was going to turn out the way it was supposed to,” said Madison.

Madison’s positivity and optimism not only helped her get through the months of recovery, it motivated everyone around her to look on the bright side.

“On our third trip back to the hospital I was feeling so down,” said Sheila. “Madison turned to me and said ‘Mom, I’m so lucky. Every time I come here I look at these other children who are fighting all of these battles and I realize that I only broke my leg and it’s no big deal. I’m going to get through this.’”

Healed and better than ever

Despite suffering a serious sports injury, Madison wasn’t scared to get back on the soccer field. A year after breaking her leg, her team won the state championship and she was named MVP of the tournament.

Last year, as a sophomore in high school, she accepted a full scholarship to play Division 1 soccer and major in kinesiology at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. She is thankful to everyone at Children’s Colorado for helping her get back to doing what she loves.

“My message to others is that you’re going to face obstacles and struggles, but if you have determination and if you’re in good hands, like at Children’s Hospital Colorado, then you’re going to get through it,” said Madison.

Stay in touch with Children’s Colorado. Sign up for eNews.