PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Few things can rattle a young athlete's confidence like a serious injury, which is why it's so important the injury is taken care of quickly and thoroughly.

That combination is what got Pinnacle High School football player Anthony Ament back on the field in near record time.

[VIDEO: Mayo Clinic helping athletes get back onto the field]

Ament has been playing football since he was little and hopes to one day go pro.

So when he got hurt about a year ago, he feared the worst.

"During the very first practice, toward the end, I ran one cut. I blew out my knee, my right knee," he said.

"I thought it would never happen to me, at all. That kind of injury and I didn't think I would ever be the same after it."

But the Mayo Clinic's doctor Anikar Chhabra was a game changer.

He performed a successful ACL repair and took on Ament's mental treatment just as aggressively.

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Dr. Chhabra says that is often the tougher part of recovery.

"All of a sudden you tell them they can't play sports for 9 months. That's a big deal. That's a big hit on their social status, and things they know and love to do. So physically we can fix you and get you back pretty quickly. The mental side takes longer and a lot of repetition," he said.

While he was doing his part to help the process along, he says Ament was really the one calling the plays.

"He embraced his rehab and that's what made me so proud of Anthony is he pushed and he saw rehab as a challenge. Every day is a challenge to get to that next step," he said.

"I just kept that in my mind, kept that mentality, just get through it and get on to the next step is getting back to playing."

Less than a year later it was time to put the repaired knee to the test.

"Physically he was cleared at 8 months but mentally I think it took him 10-11 months before he thought, 'OK, I trust my knee I'm good to go,'" Chhabra said.

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But so far, so good.

"Yes, there's a risk of re-injury and yes, it's my job to always worry about my patients re-injuring themselves but he's done everything he can to prevent that and we're really excited to watch his football career," Chhabra said.

Heidi Goitia is the traffic reporter and fill-in anchor for CBS 5 This Morning weekdays from 4:30-7am.
 
 


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