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Meghan’s Story

Meghan was seriously injured in Phoenix Arizona on Saturday January 17th, 2009.  She was competing with her Level 10 TAGS Gymnastics team in a competition. She suffered two broken legs, artery damage to right leg and compartment syndrome in each leg.

She was originally in the St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix for 3.5 weeks since January 17th. She was transferred to Gillette's Children's Hospital in St. Paul MN where she continued her recovery for another 4 weeks.  Meghan moved back home in March and is still doing rehab daily.

 



Update: Feb 11th, 2009 - Meghan was transferred to Gillette Children's in St. Paul after 3.5 weeks in Phoenix. March 4th: Meghan has been discharged from Gillette but will continue outpatient therapy and rehabilitation over the next year or more.

January 17, 2009: Phoenix Arizona-At the Meet, Meghan finished a very nice floor routine and scored a 9.25 (3rd place)

On her 2nd event, Meghan landed her vault (Front on, Front Tuck) on her feet however her legs locked, legs hyper extended, and she ended up fracturing each leg in the tibia plateau (growth plate) and suffered major artery damage to her right lower leg. Unfortunately, in the next couple of days, she also developed serious compartment syndrome in each leg.

Meghan spent nearly 23 hours in the ER with Lisa (mom), cousin Paula Gustafson and her Head Coach Bryon Hough.

In the ER: The ER Doctor at St. Joseph's Hospital was ready to have her discharged with 2 crutches that first night. Thankfully with the help of our friends and resources in the Twin Cities (Mpls via phone), especially the knowledge of Tom Kiff, we were able to push for more tests to be done on her condition.  Relunctantly by the ER Doc, the tests were finally done and the next day the Orthopedic Surgeon came in to see Meghan and discovered 2 broken legs and the artery damage (on Sunday after getting a CT Scan done per our request.)
Meghan was rushed into surgery at that point.(23 hours later) Initially, the surgeons placed screws into each leg to secure the bones together, and then the vascular surgeon did an artery graft from Meghans upper leg and replace the damaged artery in her lower Rt leg.

The first week was quite difficult as full circulation to her right foot was not evident for 3-4 days and the first artery graft clotted. A 2nd and 3rd surgery (Artery Graft replacement due to clotting) helped Meghan's artery to begin to open up and hold. Meghan still did not have a full pulse through her right foot. The doctors left her wounds open on the Right Leg to alleviate the pressure on the artery. They also put Meghan on 2 special medications to fire up the spasm'd vessels in her foot and also have Meghan do Hyperbaric Oxygen tank treatments, 2hrs x 2x daily for the next week. This was successful. Her foot suddenly began to come back to color and warmth and the immediate threat of losing the foot or leg lessened.

Meghan had 9 surgeries in Arizona. The doctors closed up her surgical wounds in Phoenix after 3+ weeks. They were able to close her right leg up as well with the plastic surgeon doing his work including skin grafts.

We worked hard behind the scenes to get Meghan home to Minnesota. She was transferred by medical ambulance to Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul, MN. The Med e Vac plane transport was not covered by normal insurance and the USA Gymnastics Insurance. An anonymous donor helped get this covered and we are so thankful.

Thank you for your support. Meghan is so strong. She could not wait to get back home near her friends, family, Lakeville North HS classmates/teachers and teammates at TAGS Gymnastics. Emotionally and physically, this has been very hard on Meghan and her family, friends, coaches and teammates. The kind wishes, prayers and efforts of support have been much appreciated. Lisa stayed in AZ with Meghan for nearly 4 weeks. Doug and Ryan flew down for the first 8 days and returned when Meghan became a little more stable.

All of the cards and balloons and gifts have helped carry Meghan through her rough days. Her day was brightened again by recieving a gift from the MN Twins, Justin Morneau signed #33 Baseball. One of her favorite Twins. Thank you MN Twins and Justin.

Note: Meghan's TAGS teammates held it together and motivated each other to finish the meet in Phoenix and they won the meet that day!

 

Bergman Family, Doug, Lisa, Ryan and Meghan

Latest Journal Update

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Well its a new year and we are approaching the anniversary of Meghan's accident.  January 17th will be 2 years since Meghan was hurt.  She has been through a lot of changes and surgeries in that time but the one thing that has remained costant is the support she gets from all the people around her.

As of now, Meghan's condition is pretty stable.  The artery in her right leg is still blocked, reducing the blood flow to her lower leg and foot.  However, her vascular surgeon, Dr. Rosenthal, is happy with the amount of blood reaching her foot.  He feels it is enough to sustain it and enough to promote healing if she gets sores or injures it.  We are just supposed to make sure it stays warm enough in the cold and watch for any changes.  She still has limited range of motion in her right foot and is still unable to lift it.  But with the achilles and toe surgeries her foot has become flexible enough to allow her to walk much easier.  We did get a couple of opinions about a tendon transfer surgery to restore her ability to lift her foot but we were told that the muscle in her calf (where they would take the tendon from) is not strong enough and we would not get the results we are looking for.  Of course, that is the muscle that had 70% removed because of the compartment syndrome.  Meghan continues to do toe raises to try to stregthen it in the hopes of it getting strong enough.  Her doctors, surgeons and physical therapists are all very proud of her and amazed at how well she has done.  They praise her for always pushing herself to the next point of recovery and not settling for where she is at.  They always encourage her to keep trying new things and not to set limits.  They have decided that she doesn't need to see them on a regular basis anymore.  We call them now if something comes up.  Although, we do continue to see the vascular surgeon every 6 months to measure the blood flow in her leg. 

Meghan still goes to TAGs gymnastics to workout.  She spends about 3 1/2 hours there 5 days a week conditioning to stay in shape and remain strong.  The doctors and physical therapists think its great physical therapy for her!  She also works on the bars while she is there.  She was told that while she will most likely never do floor, beam, or vault again, she can do bars.  Her goal is to compete on bars again.  She is surprised at how quickly the skills in her old routine are coming back to her in just 3 months.  I watched her yesterday and was so proud of how well she was doing.  She was doing more than I thought she would be after this short amount of time.  She is almost ready to put it all together into a routine!  We are so proud of her. She will get some deductions for not being able to point her toes on her right foot, but who cares, its worth it!!

Meghan continues to excel in school.  She took her ACT test and is looking at different colleges.  She is active in DECA at Lakeville North and is a member of the National Honor Society.  She volunteers whenever she can and teaches Sunday school every Wednesday.  I have to admit that if she had not gotten hurt, she probably never would have had the opportunity or taken the time to get involved in these activities.  She would still be focused completely on gymnastics.   There are people she never would have met, friends she most likely never would have gotten close to, and things she would not have taken the time to do.  So, while we grieve for what she has lost, we feel she is blessed for what she has found.  

I think we all have settled into our "new normal".  We still discover new things that we didn't think she would be able to do that she figures out a way to do.  But, we also still find things that she can no longer do.  Sometimes we are surprised by the difficulty of some of the most basic things that most people take for granted.  But, all things considered, Meghan is doing very well! She has worked hard to get to where she is at and it shows in how well she walks and how strong she has become.  We always hope for more and will never give up that hope!  But if this is where she stays, then we thank God for bringing her to this point.  Its a long way from where she was at in Arizona and a lot farther that we were told she could get to!

We will continue to keep everyone updated on how Meghan is doing, what she is up to and how her bars are going.  She is hoping to be able to compete soon and we will let you know how that goes.

God Bless,

Lisa