Health Matters: Hip surgery advances help student athlete


CONWAY, Ark. – A high school basketball player is on the road to recovery after a hip injury.

Thanks to new technology, she’ll soon be back on the court.

Ashley Hopper loves to play basketball. She’s a freshman forward at Little Rock Christian Academy.

It wasn’t long into the season when she started having hip pain.

“It was popping a lot and it just didn’t feel right,” she explains.

Ashley went to Baptist Health to get it checked out. Doctors found she had a labral tear of her hip which would require surgery.

“I was devastated to know that I was going to have to have surgery and sit out a whole season on something that I love to do, doing it all the time and then just stopping was…I hated it,” she adds.

Orthopedic Surgeon Lawrence O’Malley used new hip arthroscopy technology to repair her torn labrum. It’s a bed that allows him to work more efficiently.

“What we’re trying to prevent is hip replacements in the future,” says the sports medicine physician.

Dr. O’Malley says the tool cuts down on surgery time and it also reduces post-operative pain.

“It’s more common than we realize and so this is a surgery that’s only really been around for 10 years,” he continues.

Ashley is grateful for the new tool and to be on the road to recovery. She doesn’t want other athletes to ignore the signs.

“Listen to your body. Know what it’s telling you,” she advises.

With a month left of physical therapy, she’s getting stronger and eager to play with her team again.

Baptist Health in Conway is one of 15 in the US and the only hospital in Conway to have the new bed.

Surgery takes between an hour and hour-and-a-half.

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