Mitchell Ryan Dates has been passionate about sports since the age of 3, when he played knee hockey with his dad as a preschooler. Today, his focus is high school hockey, football, and track.
All that came to a halt when Mitchell begin experiencing instability in his knee. It was devastating to learn the cause: A dislocated patella and medial patellofemoral ligament tear.
While Mitchell also has a full life off the field — when he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and playing Xbox with friends — it was important to him to get back in the game. He did not want to miss out on his senior seasons of all three sports.
He got back on his feet thanks to a surgery that would include the transplantation of a semitendinosus allograft. “I always thought donation was a good cause, but I never really appreciated the impact it would have,” Mitchell said.
Now as he heals, he is gearing up for his return to sports by shooting pucks in his basement, admitting that he’s “pretty much destroyed the drywall around the net.” He’s also spending time in the weight room to build strength in his legs as part of the recovery process from the transplant.
“If I could, I would thank the person that donated this tissue to me,” Mitchell said. “I now have a chance to have a normal senior year in sports. It has given me hope. All in all, the gift of the tissue will help me in my future career in sports and in my everyday life.”