The main anatomy of the knee consists of the sciatic nerve, popliteal artery, and four ligaments.
Imagine cutting through all of these as the knee dislocates from its socket.
Jacob Hansen of Newman Lake suffered this traumatic injury while playing rugby on April 18, 2018.
Hansen originally began his rugby career in 2011 at the University of Western Oregon. His passion has been found.
In seven years, Hansen had never sprained an ankle playing rugby. He was the stereotypical Ironman in a sport that is aggressive in nature.
But a little over three years ago, Hansen was in Missoula playing in a tournament for the Coeur d’Alene Osprey.
In the first game of the tournament, Hansen had the ball with two defenders in the way.
He describes his style of play as sovereign, so his goal was to run over the two men standing between him and the tryzone (end zone).
When he reached the point of contact, Hansen was attacked deep – but neatly – right on the knee.
Hansen’s knee bent like a flamingo’s when his toes nearly touched his quadriceps.
His leg was reset by a team member and he was taken to a hospital in Missoula.
The severed artery filled his lower leg with blood, causing his calf to swell to a size larger than his thigh – a condition known as compartment syndrome – before a vascular surgeon patched the artery and relieved the pressure in his calf.
He was transferred to the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where all of his tapes were replaced with cadaveric tapes.
Nine operations over 13 months were performed to repair the serious damage and prepare for the next steps.
St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Medical Center helped with his rehab during the process, but the results never reached a point where Hansen or the doctors were delighted with the progress.
After discussing all of the options available, Hansen and his team decided that amputation was the best option for the most active and productive life possible.
Operation 10 was the amputation below the knee of Hansen’s left leg on July 3, 2019. Hansen watched the Independence Day fireworks from his hospital bed the next day.
The vacation wasn’t the only event that Hansen was taken away. He missed his daughter’s first birthday and previously planned wedding while in the hospital.
From that moment on, Hansen made sure that his prosthesis did not interfere with his life or his goals and aspirations.
“I’ve done so many things that I haven’t even done before (the injury),” said Hansen. “Just because I really want to prove to myself that I can do it. I’m training for a triathlon this summer. I would never do that before. Not much of a runner. I’ve been skateboarding, I’ve been snowboarding, I’ve ridden a lot of bikes. Originally, my goal was to be able to play soccer with my daughter in the backyard. It has grown into so much more. It is really my greatest motivation. “
Hansen uses its platform to promote the lives of other athletes with physical challenges through the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).
The guiding principle of the CAF is: “It is the mission of the CAF to offer people with physical challenges opportunities and support so that they can pursue an active lifestyle through physical fitness and competitive sports. The CAF is convinced that participating in sport at all levels increases self-esteem, promotes independence and improves the quality of life. “
Hansen’s first opportunity to help the foundation directly is in a one-day men’s rugby tournament on Saturday from 8:30 am at the Chase Sports Complex in Post Falls.
All proceeds from the tournament will be donated to the CAF.
The tournament is called Kootenai 7’s based on the location and style of the tournament.
Usually rugby is played 15 vs. 15. In the past few years, 7 vs. 7 has grown in popularity due to the increased action.
At the tournament on Saturday, 10 teams from five countries will compete in a knockout playoff round. At the end of the day, a single champion is crowned.
A food truck and a beer garden will be on site.
The aim is to bring high-level rugby to northern Idaho and to highlight an underrepresented sport that is slowly gaining popularity in the region.
There are three high school rugby teams in the Spokane / Coeur d’Alene area with a need for more teams, according to Hansen. A rugby-focused academy is being built in Liberty Lake and three pitches are being built in Stateline.
As the tournament grows, the next steps will be to add youth clubs and women’s clubs as interest spreads to other demographics. Hansen has already secured a playground with three fields next year, compared to the one this year