College Lacrosse Dreams Become Reality Despite Injury

Lauren playing high school lacrosse.

Lauren playing high school lacrosse.

Lauren dislocated her kneecap at 11 years old, she was put in a brace and 3 months later ended up dislocating it again. After visiting a local doctor, the Cherven family was shocked by the orthopedist's plan of action, which was major surgery realigning Lauren's bones. “I knew we needed to seek out a second opinion and our physical therapist recommended us to Columbia Orthopedics,” said mom, Stacey.

Lauren and her family were referred to Dr. Charles Popkin.

Dr. Popkin was the first person to put me at ease, he said you can relax she doesn’t need this surgery today. It was the first time I was able to breathe in six months. He figured me out as a parent quickly, and made us feel completely relaxed. I knew she was in good hands.

A couple months later at 12 years old, Lauren had a medial patella femoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction, where a new ligament is created to better stabilize the knee and help protect it from additional damage."There wasn't a single hiccup post surgery and no pain, she had surgery on a Monday and was going to physical therapy by Friday. She was able to get back to playing lacrosse, which was her biggest fear of not being able to do what she loved and get back on the field, but there were no issues," said Stacey. 

If we didn’t find Dr. Popkin, I don’t know where we would be today. It was nothing but a wonderful experience, we have such a good rapport with him, and he is so easy to talk too. I would recommend him to anyone along with his office coordinator William, who would always help us get an appointment when needed. When your child needs surgery so young, you want them to be with the best, and Dr. Popkin is that.

Outside of sports, Lauren is an excellent student and very driven. This whole experience has shaped Lauren to accomplish whatever goal is in front of her. She is now a senior in high school and has been playing lacrosse with her team the last few years. Once she is done with her senior year she will be attending college and has already committed to playing lacrosse. "When someone dreams of playing college lacrosse, and at a young age has an injury and surgery, that can be crushing. We credit the team at Columbia for everything they have done in getting us to where we are today," said Stacey. 

"My advice to other parents is always trust your gut. Thank God I sought out a second opinion with a high level doctor like Dr. Popkin at Columbia Orthopedics. I grew up 2 hours outside of the City, if anything is really wrong you need to go somewhere at that next level. Any parent should 100% seek a second opinion, don’t be afraid to ask questions, do your own research, and trust your gut."

Stacey ended up also having surgery with Dr. Popkin shortly after Lauren's surgery. In 2019, Stacey tore her meniscus and had a procedure to remove part of her meniscus and also repair and reshape part of the damaged cartilage in her joint. 

"Dr. Popkin made a difficult situation easy. When I tore my meniscus and the local doctor wasn’t helpful, I knew right away I needed to see Dr. Popkin. I have been feeling great since surgery." Stacey and Lauren are both doing well post-surgery and keep in touch with Dr. Popkin during their annual visits.