Former Motlow soccer player recovers after two hip surgeries in just over a year
By Bethany Porter MTN Sports Reporter
April 20, 2020
Former Motlow State soccer goalkeeper Annie Kate “AK” Gibson had two labral repair surgeries one year and 10 days apart.
Gibson first noticed her hip pain her senior year of high school.
“I just noticed that my hip was bothering and hindering me a bit, and it was kind of like a sharp pain," said Gibson. "I ended up seeing a trainer that said I should go to the doctor.”
The doctor told her she sprained something and had her start physical therapy. However, the pain continued to bother her for the rest of the high school season.
Gibson signed a letter of intent to play soccer for Motlow State Community college in 2018. The pain continued to bother her.
“My freshman year at Motlow, I started noticing it toward the end of preseason again. This time the pain was different and a lot more prevalent, a lot sharper and a lot harder to get relief from,” she said.
She tried stretching her hip and it did not help. Gibson visited the Motlow trainers and they gave her exercises to help her strengthen her hip. Nothing was relieving her pain. An MRI showed a severe labral hip tear, which is an injury to the soft tissue that covers the socket of the hip called the labrum. It can be caused by structural problems, degenerative issues or injury. An injury was the cause of Gibson’s tear.
“I had one of the worst labral tears an athlete could have,” Gibson said.
Since she wanted to continue playing soccer, the doctor decided she could try to play a season on a steroid shot. According to Gibson, the shot helped for less than a week.
“The pain after that was even worse than the pain before. I guess because [the shot] just hid my pain, and I didn’t realize I was making it worse,” she said.
That was the point where she decided to end her season.
Gibson had her first labral repair surgery on November 16, 2018. The standard labral repair surgery lasts two-and-a-half hours, Gibson was in surgery for five hours and 20 minutes.
“I woke up and I feel like I was extremely underprepared for the severity of it, and I don’t say that to be dramatic,” said Gibson. “My pain was a 10 out of 10. I could not wiggle my toes. I could not move my neck. Everything hurt so badly.”
It was a laparoscopic surgery where they cleaned out the debris from her labral tear and reshaped her bones.
“They took a blade or something…and reshaped my hip bone and my pelvis bone to prevent my injury from possibly reoccurring,” said Gibson.
The first two weeks were miserable for Gibson. A standard labral repair surgery requires six to eight weeks on crutches and then one crutch for two weeks. After eight to 10 weeks, she could start walking on her own, and after four months she could start to slowly run. Gibson had to wait six to eight months to do anything with high impact. She recovered well from her right hip surgery.
Gibson tried to play soccer for the 2019 season and tore her labrum in her left hip. Fellow Motlow State goalkeeper Ashley Woods did not enjoy seeing Gibson in pain.
“It felt awful to see my friend suffer through all the pain she was going through,” said Woods. “Seeing her practice goalie was hurting me as a friend. I would encourage her to stop.”
She had surgery on her left hip November 26, 2019. One year and 10 days after her first hip surgery. Her left hip was worse than the right. The standard two-and-a-half-hour labral repair surgery lasted seven hours and 45 minutes.
Gibson thought her recovery process was much easier than her first hip, but the pain was not.
“I knew what to expect, but with that when I woke up from my [left hip surgery], the pain was excruciating. It was so much worse than the first time,” said Gibson.
Gibson is no longer playing soccer, but is doing much better. She does not, however, recommend that anyone go through what she did.
“I do not recommend having a labrum repair surgery on your hip, but if you need it, go for it," said Gibson. "I’m doing well now. I’m running and I’m living life without pain. I’m not playing soccer anymore. I had offers to go other places, but I did just decide to give it up because it’s not worth my long-term health. Post two hip surgeries I am thriving, or at least I think so."