Donated Tendon Puts Dreams Back in Reach for Teen Athlete

Emilee Souder | Tendon recipient

Soccer was Emilee Souder’s first love from the moment she started playing the sport at age 5. By the time she was a high school sophomore, her life revolved around an intense schedule of practices and games for both her school’s team as well as a club team. Emilee’s outgoing and determined nature kept her and her teams focused on exceeding at the sport.

Emilee SouderIn early 2021, Emilee was devastated when she suffered a fracture to a portion of her femur and severe tearing of her cartilage during a game. She was heartbroken as she listened to her orthopedic surgeon explain that she would never play again — unless she had surgery that included the gift of a donated tendon. She underwent the procedure the following summer, with her family and friends by her side.

Emilee is deeply thankful for the generous gift of tissue donation that has put her on the path to healing. As she continues recovering with physical therapy, her care team is pleased with how much she’s progressed. She remains in close contact with her club coach and attends her team’s games to cheer them on as she continues to heal. She also co-coaches a youth soccer team with her dad to stay involved in the game she loves and to inspire others. This has been an essential part of her journey and has given her a positive outlet during the inevitable challenging days of recovery.

Without her donated tendon, Emilee would not be able to look forward to her long-term goal — playing soccer in college. Her experience also has inspired her career ambition of becoming a physical therapist focused on team athletics. With a clear path forward and a new mission in life, she is eager for the bright future ahead.

“With my surgery, I can continue living my dream," she said.