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Soccer Player Recovers at Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Not Once, but Twice


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Jonathon Cline intended to make the varsity soccer team in his sophomore year.

Then the high school athlete from Edmond suffered a serious setback when he suffered not one, but two injuries. But thanks to the assistance of an accomplished physical therapist at INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation, Cline came back. He even became a better soccer player after his injuries.

Soccer has almost always been in Cline's life. He first started playing “the beautiful game” when he was three years old. It didn’t take long for him to fall in love.

“I love the brotherhood with your teammates on the field," Cline says. "You walk out onto that field and you train with those same people every single day, and you go out there and you work hard. It’s so different than other sports: no timeouts, 45 minutes nonstop, you just keep going, going, going.”

Cline was “going” a lot as he ascended through the youth leagues and soccer clubs in Edmond. When he was 16 he was poised to take a big step: making the varsity team.

Cline attends Edmond North High School. The school, which has an enrollment of more than 2,400 students and plays in the Metro Athletics Conference, has a strong soccer program. In both 2000 and 2013 the Huskies won Oklahoma state titles. Cline follows in some mighty footsteps there. Bright Dike, an Edmond North alumnus, is a professional soccer player who also went on to play in the World Cup.

In 2013 as a sophomore, Cline was training for the upcoming season when he broke his leg just weeks before varsity tryouts. But he found he was able to approach the setback with a plan -- namely, hard work.

“One of my coaches drilled into us that we should hate losing more than we enjoy winning,” Cline says. “[He told us] that we should never give up, otherwise, what’s the point?”

After surgery, the 16-year-old found himself somewhere he never imagined he’d be: physical therapy.

Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation serves patients with diagnoses including orthopedic, neurological and complex medical conditions. At their state-of-the-art facilities, patients are directly provided diagnostic imaging, laboratory, pharmacy and other services.

Their specialists are skilled at working with adolescents. It was there that Cline met someone who would change his life -- Samantha Klepper, P.T., D.P.T., who is a physical therapist INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation.

“Jonathon was injured playing soccer and fractured his tibia. He wanted to get back on the field as soon as possible,”  she says. “When I first interviewed him on the first day he asked me ‘What can we do RIGHT NOW?’”

Immediately Cline knew Klepper was the perfect match for what he needed to rebound from his injury. He says, "My physical therapist was the best person I could ever imagine to help me come back. She would push me really, really hard to points that I didn’t think I could go."

Milestones were critical in his recovery.

“We started with pretty basic exercises [that first day],” Klepper says, “but we progressed pretty quickly. You could tell he was doing his homework at home and he would show up on time ready to go. He progressed through agility drills, strengthening, balance, endurance." She continues, "He returned to playing his sport at a high level. He actually went on a European tour not long after that and represented Team USA.”

Cline resumed playing the game he loved but then he encountered more adversity. In September of 2014, just before his junior year, he suffered a setback by dislocating his right kneecap.

“That was different for me,” Cline says. “It was the peak season of my junior year. When I found out I’d be out for six months, [I was no longer] part of the team.” With Cline's injury he suddenly faced months of uncertainty away from his teammates. Once again Klepper worked to rehab the young athlete.

“You could just tell [the second injury] kind of deflated him. He was pretty sad," says Klepper.

Proving that rehab is more than stretching, treadmills and physical therapy, Klepper helped treat the whole patient.

“She cared about my problems. She cared about the things going on in my life,” Cline remembers.  “It wasn’t just the physical side of it, it was the emotional stuff [too]. She pushe[d] me.”

Sometimes patients need to hear words of encouragement as much as they need a plan for physical rehabilitation. Cline remembers precisely when Klepper gave him that motivation. “She told me, ‘You may think you can only do this, but you can do so much more than that if you push yourself.’”

Cline is now readying for his final high school season on the soccer field.

“Cline has made a full recovery with both injuries. He plays for his high school team and he also plays for his club team, says Klepper. "He’s a true success story." Proving that hard work after adversity can make us even stronger, Cline considers himself an even better soccer player now.

“When I had these injuries I was terrified that I would come back and never be the same … I actually came back stronger because of the trials that I went through and the people who were there behind me pushing me harder and harder. I feel blessed.”

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