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LSU Golden Girl's Inspiring Journey From a Torn ACL to Saturdays in Tiger Stadium

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Since Lauren Aguillard started going to games in Tiger Stadium as a little girl, she dreamed of one day becoming an LSU Golden Girl. A torn ACL at the beginning of her senior year of high school nearly derailed that dream. 

The ACL is a ligament in the center of the knee that connects the thigh bone to the top of the shin. Sudden twisting and cutting on a planted foot are the most common causes of injury. Common symptoms of a torn ACL include:

  • A popping sound or popping sensation in the knee
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Instability
  • A loss of range of motion, like being unable to jump and land on the knee, accelerate and change directions or rapidly pivot on the knee

Surgery is usually required for ACL tears, but not always. Proper evaluation of the injury and discussion about the treatment, rehabilitation, and long-term goals are essential for the best outcomes. In Lauren's case, surgery was required, and she was referred to orthopedic surgeon Jeremy Burnham, MD. Dr. Burnham specializes in knee, hip, shoulder, elbow and ankle injuries, and surgical and nonsurgical treatment of all sports injuries. Though the surgery was successful, according to Dr. Burnham the recommended return-to-sports timeline after ACL reconstructive surgery is nine months. Lauren had seven months until LSU Golden Girl tryouts. 

Lauren was dedicated throughout her rehab to ensure she made the LSU Golden Girl auditions. Dr. Burnham said, "Every subsequent visit she was really committed and locked into making those tryouts."

Her fierce determination paid off and out of the 83 people at tryouts she was one of the 16 selected. Lauren went on to be an LSU Golden Girl for four years, including team captain for the final two. 

Dr. Burnham said, "I was able to share the experience with my daughters, you know. I was able to bring them to an LSU football game and point out Lauren to them and that she was the captain and all the things she was doing. And so it was incredibly rewarding to see that and see the success that she had." 

Lauren is grateful for the support of Dr. Burnham. She said, "If it wasn't for him supporting me and guiding me along the way, I think I would've have been crushed after I found out about my ACL. That was all the encouragement I needed to push myself to the point to try out." 

The Ochsner Andrews Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute combines Ochsner’s award-winning sports medicine and orthopedic programs with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews’ expertise, research and education platform. Pediatric patients and high school athletes, members of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, weekend warriors and senior citizens all turn to the Ochsner Andrews Sports Medicine Institute for care.