Let's find what you're looking for

Travis’ story: ‘Thankful’ for rebuilt quadriceps

feed News and More

clinical_notes Featured in this article

It was a childhood dream come true for Travis Albrecht.

Invited to join a kickball game, he stepped up to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded.

The pitch rolled in, and … BOOM! Albrecht kicked it off the school’s wall. Home run! Then … SNAP!

“That’s when it happened. I limped to first base,” he says.

Albrecht, an active 40-year-old playing with 6th-graders on the playground, had torn the quadriceps muscle in his right leg. He just didn’t realize he’d done so.

“At the time, I just thought I severely pulled the muscle,” he says. “I didn’t have any pain. Something just wasn’t right. I didn’t have the strength I usually have.”

An avid distance runner, he continued running. That eventually became painful.

A couple of months later, Albrecht noticed a large lump at the top of his right thigh.

“It’s definitely not right,” he thought.

The large lump at the top of Travis Albrecht's right thigh was a torn quadriceps muscle.

Albrecht, who was living in Menominee, Mich., at the time, reached out to Dr. Harold J. Schock, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic. Schock is fellowship trained in sports medicine.

Schock found that Albrecht had torn the quadriceps in the middle of the muscle, high in the thigh, a condition that typically is treated with physical therapy and without surgery.

“When he flexed his muscle, you could actually see the gap where the two ends of the muscle weren’t touching,” Schock says.

As they discussed treatment options, Schock told Albrecht he could continue to run without repairing the tear. Albrecht, however, wanted to run without pain. He chose reconstructive surgery.

“There was a sense of healthy confidence about Dr. Schock. He left me with a sense of peace that this was the right procedure, this was the right choice for me,” he says. “I wanted to continue to be active and I wanted my quality of life to extend as long as I’m alive.”

In May 2017, Schock rebuilt Albrecht’s quadriceps, weaving a string that is comparable to tensile wire to construct and close the gap in the muscle.

“I’m really thankful for whoever donated (the cadaver tendon). It wasn’t life or death as so many donations are, but it was important for me,” Albrecht says.

A year after the reconstructive surgery and the physical therapy that followed, Albrecht ran a half-marathon in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he now lives.

“I’m thankful for the knowledge they had, their experienced staff,” Albrecht says of Schock’s team. “You just have to trust the process through.”

Today, Albrecht remains active, running three to four times a week.

“I’m so glad I did it,” he says.

Published: Monday, January 23, 2023
Author: Jeff Ash