Christy Saulle Returns to Serving the Community After ACL Surgery

Christy Saulle was headed for the end zone.

In November 2019, the 25-year-old was participating in a community flag football game when she tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee.

“I was running with the ball. I planted my foot wrong and I heard a pop,” said Christy. “I knew it was my ACL. I sat out the rest of the game.”

A high school and college soccer player, Christy had torn her ACL—a key piece of tissue that connects the thighbone and shinbone and stabilizes your knee—twice before. But this time, the injury would not only keep her off the field, it would take her away from her job as a patrol officer with a Burlington County police department.

Not only would Christy require a major repair of her ACL, which had an 80 percent tear, she also would need to replace the cartilage around her knee that had worn away due to her active lifestyle.

Virtua orthopedic surgeon Sean McMillan, DO, FAOAO, FAAOS, DAL, performed two procedures on Christy at Virtua Willingboro Hospital. The first, on Jan. 3, 2020, cleaned out her knee. The second, on Jan. 30, reconstructed her ACL and implanted new cartilage.

“Christy’s injury was a devastating one,” said Dr. McMillan. “Given the fact that she had a previous ACL reconstruction at a young age, there is always an increased risk of re-tear. What compounded her ACL repair was the fact that she suffered a cartilage defect in the weight-bearing surface of her knee. An analogy of this would be a large pothole in the road. Because this pothole was so big, we had to transplant a large piece of bone and cartilage from another individual into her knee, as well as reconstruct her ACL once again.”

Following the surgery, Christy spent three months on crutches.

“Dr. McMillan has been nothing but amazing. He did my second ACL tear, so I knew I was in good hands,” she said. “I really have trust in him. He really puts himself in your shoes and understands what you are going through. He seeks out the best option for you.”

She transitioned to light duty before returning full time to the police department on Aug. 30.

“This recovery typically takes 12 to 18 months to fully get back on your feet,” said Dr. McMillan. “It’s a testament to how hard she worked in rehab that she is now back working full duty as a police officer, just nine months after the procedure.”

Christy said she’s grateful for the care she’s received throughout her recovery.

“It was a really great experience all around,” she said. “Dr. McMillan still keeps in contact with me to make sure I’m OK and how I’m progressing.”

While she’s getting back to running and going to the gym, don’t expect to see her on the football field anytime soon.

“I’m very active. I like to play sports,” she said. “But I think I need to retire from it. I don’t want to risk it anymore.”

Comprehensive Orthopedic Care
From pain management and physical therapy, to surgery and rehabilitation, Virtua Health can help you get back in the game. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons guide your care – from diagnosis to treatment, and beyond. Learn more about the Virtua orthopedics program or call 856-517-8812.

Updated February 3, 2021

navigator access center

Contact Virtua

A Personal Health Navigator can help you find a doctor, schedule appointments or classes, and help you find a service or location.

888-VIRTUA-3 Live Chat

You may also like


We've Got Your Back, Literally!

Listen as we talk to three experts – a physical therapist, a spine neurosurgeon, and a spine orthopedic surgeon – about the causes of back pain, tips to strength your muscles, and when it’s time to get help.

Watch Video
Real Talk Women's Health Orthopedics Presentation

Shoulders, Hips, and Knees, Oh My!

As women, we’re constantly on the move, and for many, joint pain is a reality. In this Real Talk! Women’s Health Chat, three specialists from Virtua Orthopedics & Spine offer tips to manage existing pain and prevent injuries.

Watch Video
biker paused on bike trail

The 5 Best Biking Trails in South Jersey

One of the best ways to take advantage of South Jersey's warmer spring weather is to get outside for a bike ride. We share some favorite local trails here.

Read More
Showing 3 of 30