Jan 04, 2018
Local athlete makes dramatic comeback to win the state championship
Two-year ordeal sidelines Kedrick Wilbanks, but now he's back on track
A hip injury in an 8th-grade football game was the catalyst for an orthopedic condition that would plague Kedrick Wilbanks for the next two years.
Kedrick’s initial injury was termed a “muscle bruise,” but the next time it happened, his hip dislocated. A series of injuries followed, including multiple hip dislocations. Out of necessity, he started resetting his own hip and spent a lot of time hobbling around on crutches. Sometimes everything seemed normal, but if he stepped wrong, or put too much weight on his leg, he would be back on crutches and in continual pain.
Doctors prescribed steroid shots, medications and physical therapy, but they only provided temporary relief. One doctor said he would never walk normally again. Meanwhile, Kedrick’s condition worsened so that he missed most of his 9th grade at Red Bank
High School. This was especially hard, because Kedrick and his twin brother, Kendrick, did everything together.
Frantically, his mother Vickie googled “My son can’t walk.” She learned about various types of orthopedic surgeries, and also learned that Vanderbilt performed such surgeries. Vickie asked for a referral to Vanderbilt and there Kedrick was diagnosed with hip dysplagia, a congenital misalignment of the hip joint. The experts recommended a PAO (periacetabular) procedure. Following the eight-hour operation, he came to Siskin Hospital for nine months of outpatient therapy.
Though conditioned to sports training, Kedrick had trouble motivating himself because he was in so much pain. Kendrick kept encouraging him, telling him to keep going, not to give up. And eventually he began to regain strength and overcome the pain.
One day, his therapist told him to go run on the Siskin Health & Fitness Center track. When his brother began to out-distance him, Kedrick’s competitive spirit pushed him forward. It was then, he says, that he realized the new strength and stability of his hip, and felt enormous relief that it didn’t give under the pressure.
The next year, Kedrick resumed track and went on to make Best of Preps in track and field in both 2016 and 2017. He also won the state championship in 2016 and achieved top individual honor in track at the 2016 AAU Junior Olympics Games in Houston. He and his brother will continue their athletic training on full scholarship in college.
“I value every step I can take,” says Kedrick. “I have a greater appreciation for my family support, for my therapists, and the medical community that helped me get through this.”
Kedrick's story was featured in Spirit, the Siskin Hospital magazine.
Read more inspiring patient stories in past issues of Spirit magazine: