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Two-sport Athlete, Wes Hayes, Named Piedmont Athens Regional Athlete of the Month

Athens, Ga. (March 26, 2024) — The Sports Medicine Department at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center has named Dove Creek Middle School’s Wes Hayes Athlete of the Month, an award given each month to a student athlete who has shown perseverance while dealing with an injury or illness. 

Hayes plays baseball and football for Dove Creek Middle, but found himself on the sidelines after fracturing his left clavicle, also called the collarbone. He also underwent knee surgery to address osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), a condition thought to be caused by repetitive movement such as chronic overuse from playing in the catcher position. A broken clavicle is a common injury often only requiring immobilization of the arm in order to heal. Hayes was able to avoid surgery on his shoulder, but did require OCD drilling in his left knee.   

"Wes never missed an appointment," said Chase Aurandt, a Piedmont Athens Regional Orthopedic and Sports Medicine physical therapist who worked with Hayes to return to play. “He is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen in my career. He was willing to push himself and trust the process.”

Osteochondritis dissecans most commonly affects the knee joint, and while adults can experience the condition, OCD is more typically found in younger patients who generally have a good prognosis. Symptoms of OCD include pain and swelling. The patient may feel like their knee is catching, clicking, locking, or weak and it will give way. OCD drilling is intended to stimulate regrowth and repair of the bone. A surgeon uses a small surgical drill to arthroscopically make small grooves in the injury site of the bone. 

"Our goals for Wes were focused on stability," said Aurandt. "To return to football, Wes needed to regain strength and stability in his knee, and to return to baseball, he needed to regain range of motion and stability in his shoulder. Because Wes is such an optimistic and resilient hard worker, he was able to fully return to football and is close to full activity for middle school baseball.”

According to Aurandt, when Hayes returned to see his surgeon for a follow-up visit, due to his rehabilitation work in the gym, his surgical knee was at the time stronger than his non-surgical knee. 

The Piedmont Athens Regional Orthopedic Sports Medicine team established the Athlete of the Month program to recognize the dedication of student athletes in the area.

"The athletes we work with are truly amazing and have to overcome so much in order to play sports again after an injury or illness," said Katie Terrell, athletic trainer and outreach coordinator for the hospital’s sports medicine program. "The award was developed to celebrate their hard work in our sports medicine rehab program. We’re excited about working with student athletes from middle school through college and into adulthood. Our athletic trainers and therapists have advanced training in sports medicine and are dedicated to keeping student athletes playing their sport."

As the Athlete of the Month, Hayes received a certificate and is featured in the Orthopedic Sports Medicine facility located on Piedmont’s Oconee Health Campus in Watkinsville, Ga.

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