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North Oconee High School’s Carter Freeman Named Piedmont Athens Athlete of the Month

Athens, Ga. (Jan. 6, 2021) – Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center recognizes North Oconee High School football athlete Carter Freeman as its last Athlete of the Month of 2020, a program that recognizes one high school student athlete each month for his/her demonstrated perseverance through an athletic injury or medical illness either on or off the field.

A senior at the high school, Freeman was nominated as the program’s Athlete of the Month in December following an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which he experienced in November 2020 during a Friday night varsity game. His injury required reconstruction surgery.

“This is no easy injury to deal with, no matter who you are. But Carter did not let it stop him,” said Mathew Cheek, Piedmont Athens physical therapy assistant. “Since his injury, he’s continuously demonstrated commitment through multiple courses of rehabilitation – something that’s very important for any injury.”  

Freeman recently underwent ACL reconstruction surgery, something Cheek described as “phase one” of a long recovery process.

During surgery, doctors used a surgical tissue graft to replace Freeman’s ACL, located in the knee, to restore its function. Surgery was completed by Robert Hancock, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with Piedmont Athens Regional’s Orthopedic Sports Medicine team.

In a special ceremony last month, the Piedmont Orthopedic Sports Medicine Group gathered to recognize Freeman as the team’s Athlete of the Month and celebrate his persistence to overcome such a difficult injury and surgery.

The Athlete of the Month Program was established by Piedmont Athens Regional’s Orthopedic Sports Medicine team in an effort to support and recognize local, hard-working student athletes.

“Each month, we focus on one high school and meet as a committee, which includes the school’s athletic director, other members of their team and members of the athletic training program,” said Katie Terrell, athletic trainer and outreach coordinator for the hospital’s sports medicine program. “These amazing athletes overcome so much in order to play each year, and we wanted to find another way to support them as well as our community.” 

According to Eddie Joslyn, Piedmont Athens physical therapist, Freeman shows up to rehabilitation appointments ready to work, making him standout in the clinic.

“He always gives 100 percent,” said Joslyn. “He’s a great role model for his fellow patients, leading by example with unwavering persistence when dealing with this injury is a true testament to that.” 

As the Athlete of the Month for December, Freeman received an award and was featured in the Orthopedic Sports Medicine facility located on Piedmont’s Oconee Health Campus in Watkinsville, Ga.

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