Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center on Tuesday recognized Clarke Central High School linebacker Joshua Henderson as its first Athlete of the Month, a new program that will recognize one high school student athlete each month for his or her demonstrated perseverance through an athletic injury or medical illness either on or off the field.
Henderson, 17, was nominated as the program’s first Athlete of the Month for September for his efforts to overcome a metacarpal fracture, a break of the tubular bones within the palm of his hand, which he sustained during a football game last season. Henderson was making a tackle when he fell on his hand during an away game nearly a year ago.
“Despite his injury, Josh came to every practice with only one goal: to do whatever was needed to get back on the field and support his team,” said Allie Palmer, Piedmont Athens Regional athletic trainer supporting Clarke Central High School athletes. “During his recovery, Josh faced many obstacles, but he handled it all with incredible courage and determination, making him very deserving of this Athlete of the Month recognition.”
In a special ceremony, the Clarke Central football team gathered before afternoon practice to recognize Henderson as the hospital’s Athlete of the Month. 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’ll focus on one high school, meeting as a committee that includes the school’s athletic director and other members of their team, as well as members of the athletic training program,” said Katie Terrell, athletic trainer and outreach coordinator for the hospital’s sports medicine team. “These amazing athletes overcome so much in order to play in their sports each year. We just wanted to find another way to support them as well as our community.”
After sustaining his injury, Henderson required surgery. Orthopedic Surgeon Robert Hancock, M.D., and Physician’s Assistant Joe Kilzi, both with Piedmont Physicians Orthopedic Sports Medicine of Athens, completed the surgery to fix the damage, placing two internal screws in his hand.
After surgery, Henderson’s hand was placed in a cast to allow for his hand to properly heal, and he was required to wear a club splint over his cast during practices to keep his hand and wrist in a straight position. Thankfully, he was able to return to practice just two weeks after surgery.
“Josh also needed some extensive wrist and hand rehabilitation with the hospital’s sports medicine rehabilitation team. As the team’s athletic trainer, I also worked with Henderson, and he was more than willing to put in the extra work needed to get back on the field” Palmer said. “He continued to attend practices with this club splint and was there to support the rest of his team.”
Henderson has since made a full recovery, but continues to work with Palmer and the hospital’s sports medicine rehabilitation team to ensure he doesn’t lose strength in his hand and wrist from the injury.
As Athlete of the Month for September, Henderson’s photo will be featured in the Orthopedic Sports Medicine facility located on Piedmont’s Oconee Health Campus in Watkinsville, Ga.
For more information about services offered through Piedmont Physicians Orthopedic Sports Medicine of Athens, visit piedmont.org/AthensOrthoSportsMed.