JCPS athlete goes on to play college basketball after injury jeopardized her dreams

Emilia Sexton’s story is one of overcoming adversity. With a lot of hard work and help from Norton Sports Health, the former Male High School basketball player is now living her dream. 

Emilia Sexton’s story is one of overcoming adversity. With a lot of hard work and help from Norton Sports Health, the former Male High School basketball player is now living her dream.

“I’ve wanted to play basketball forever,” Emilia said.

Emilia’s long-time dream was finally within reach her junior year of high school. She was a star player with the prospect of playing college hoops. But one game put those plans in jeopardy.

“I passed it to the right and tried to cut to the left at the same time and then I went down,” Emilia said.

She tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in one of her knees and partially tore her meniscus.

Constructing a new ACL and planning recovery

Her surgeon, Samuel D. Carter, M.D., with Norton Orthopedic Institute, recalled Emilia’s first visit after her injury.

“It was definitely an emotional conversation, because she was worried that she might not return to play,” said Dr. Carter, who also is a team physician for Male High School.

Like other athletes, she didn’t just want to return — she wanted to be able to play at the level she was accustomed to.

“I love him,” Emilia said. “He actually said ACL tears are his favorite and that made me feel better.”

Nine months later, Emilia was back on the court

Dr. Carter constructed a new ACL for Emilia and mapped out a game plan for recovery.

“That’s our goal: to do everything in our power to get the athlete back to where they want to be,” Dr. Carter said.

Saturday Sports Injury Clinics

Every Saturday throughout the fall season, a primary care physician, orthopedic specialist, neurologist and athletic trainers are available at Norton Orthopedic Institute – St. Matthews with no appointment necessary.

NortonHealthcare.com/InjuryClinic

That includes coordinating with Norton Sports Health-provided school athletic trainers, in addition to physical therapy, to maximize rehabilitation.

About nine months after her surgery, Emilia was back in the game with her athletic trainer standing by.

“When she went back on the court the first time, I’ll admit I was emotional,” said Ryan Dawson, certified athletic trainer with Norton Sports Health.

Emilia even scored some points. The Lady Bulldogs won that night.

“I’m always going to be a Bulldog, so it’s really cool,” Emilia said.

And she really is. Emilia accepted a scholarship to play college basketball for the Division I Butler University Bulldogs.

With determination, hard work and a team of medical professionals rallying behind her, Emilia overcame her biggest obstacle yet — and now she’s living her childhood dream.

“For me, there’s a special place in my heart for the athletes to see them get back,” Dr. Carter said.


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