Harvard lacrosse player Jessica Halpern was a junior when she suffered her first major sports injury: a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee.
It was that injury that brought her to New England Baptist Hospital and Dr. Mark Steiner. “Luckily, Dr. Steiner is one of the surgeons who works with the Harvard teams, so I was able to see him the next day,” Halpern explains. “He was so reassuring — he had done this exact surgery so many times on so many athletes — and explained exactly what would happen.”
That expertise was reassuring for the nervous athlete. “Surgery is a big deal. You want to go somewhere where you feel comfortable,” says Halpern. “At New England Baptist, I felt like I was in such good hands. I know it will sound funny, but I didn’t even feel like I was at a hospital. I had been in the hospital before, and it was miserable. At the Baptist, I felt so cared for. Everyone showed deep concern for how I was doing —from prehab to surgery to rehab to being back on the field.”
So, when Halpern tore the meniscus in her other knee as a senior, “it wasn’t even a question of where I’d have surgery,” she recalls. “Again, Dr. Steiner was great. He outlined all of my options.”
After consulting with Steiner, Halpern opted to have the damaged cartilage removed by scope rather than undergoing a complete repair. “It was the difference between a five-week recovery and a five-month recovery,” she explains. “Dr. Steiner understood how much I wanted to play in my final season as a college athlete.”
Thanks to expert care at NEBH, “I was able to come back for the final playoff game,” Halpern notes. “It meant a lot.”