Oct 15, 2019 / Sports Medicine

Simply the Best

Patient Shayley sat cross-legged on a bright red mat, fidgeting. Every few seconds, she glanced at the clock, ticking steadily on the gym wall. Even for a gymnast like Shayley, who competes at the highest levels, being interviewed about your hospital journey can be a little nerve-racking. It’s not something that happens every day. Nor is it common for a young person sharing their story to say, “I have to be done soon.” It turns out, Shayley’s main concern wasn’t the interview, it was missing practice time in the gym. Because balancing priorities matters — when you want to be the best. 

“She’s determined to do everything possible to be the best she can be when it comes to life and gymnastics,” her grandmother Dee Dee says. “She’s a stickler for the details, both in and out of the gym, and has the medals and GPA to prove it.”

Shayley, age 11, of Plano, is a level-nine gymnast. At level 10, the highest rank, gymnasts enter an exclusive realm of Olympic hopefuls. Shayley and her teammates at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) in Plano spend upwards of six hours a day, six days a week, at the gym. They also juggle a full class load between practices. It’s a tough balancing act, but Shayley maintained a 94-percent grade average during the last school year.

Her current schedule might have been predictable based on her early days as a gymnast where, at age 3, she was immediately smitten with the sport. Shayley makes no apologies for her choice. 

“It’s what I love to do,” she says. “It’s fun. It’s crazy. It’s scary.” With her trademark smile, she shares how important her teammates are to her. “We’ve had some rough times together, but we love each other,” she says. 

Some of those rough times include overcoming injuries that are inherent to the sport. Fortunately for Shayley, her setbacks have been addressed with the help of the outstanding team at Scottish Rite for Children Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center in Frisco. Philip L. Wilson, M.D., assistant chief of staff and director of the Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine, is Shayley’s physician and an expert in the treatment of elite athletes.

Like many competitive gymnasts, Shayley has experienced falls and overuse injuries. In her case, she has had surgeries on both elbows and her left knee.

“Shayley really represents a spectrum of injuries: trauma, repetitive stress and stress during developmental cartilage growth, which we see in our athletic population and that we’re specially equipped to take care of at our facility,” Wilson explains. “Whether it be our physical therapy services, our imaging services or our surgical services, Shayley has had the benefit of all of those.” 

While recovering from a recent procedure, Shayley spent time with her Scottish Rite for Children sports physical therapist, Lorenzo Vite, to work through inflammation in her wrist. Regardless of the challenges, nothing keeps Shayley away from the sport she loves for long. “It would almost be natural for a girl to say, ‘I’m going to try something else,’ ” her mom, Haley, explains. “But no. She just keeps asking Lorenzo what she can do and when.”

The Center for Excellence in Sports Medicine not only provides a multidisciplinary team approach, but also the individualized care that caters to an athlete’s every need — and handles it all under one roof in Frisco.

These services include physical therapy, from which Shayley has benefited. In addition, the Frisco campus offers a Fracture Clinic with walk-in hours, a state-of-the-art Movement Science Lab, radiology services, indoor and outdoor running tracks, and outpatient surgeries.

Marking the first anniversary of the opening of the Frisco facility, the sports medicine team celebrates its participation in widespread community outreach programs. Relationships with the Mavs Basketball Academy, the Dallas Texans Youth Soccer Club, Texas Warriors Youth Hockey Club and Irving ISD are key to connecting with local young athletes and families. The team has also collaborated with a group at Shayley’s gym, the WOGA Parents’ Club.

Sports medicine team members provide expert care for athletes at the Frisco facility, but they also serve another important role — educating pediatricians, therapists, athletic trainers, school nurses, coaches, parents and each other. That ongoing education allows them to improve the lives of more athletes and, in many cases, help prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.

Another exciting development is taking place this fall. We have joined with Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star in Frisco. Our expertise in pediatric sports medicine and orthopedics will complement BS&W’s outstanding adult-focused practice, creating a seamless care experience for athletes of all ages. 

Our involvement in numerous aspects of the sports medicine community ultimately benefits the young athletes we serve. 

“Shayley is a great example of how our institution can connect with the community and the special types of kids that we have,” Wilson says. “She brings that spirit of athletic competition and joy and is a delight to take care of.”

“The communication between the doctors, physical therapists and WOGA coaches is working very well,” WOGA coach Josh Jeffries says. “Shayley has matured and learned a lot about herself through her injuries. It’s a credit to her spirit and motivation. Every day, she’s 100 percent ‘in.’ ” 

Shayley hopes to go to college on a gymnastics scholarship one day, but until then she has plenty of time to hone her skills. “Scottish Rite changed my life by making me able to do everything in gymnastics that I wanted to do,” Shayley says. “My goal is to be the best I can be.”

Learn more about pediatric sports medicine. 


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