Watson lines up his putt in a game of golf.

Jan 19, 2016 / Sports Medicine

What Is Osteochondritis Dissecans? – Sports Medicine

Watson didn’t know anything about osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) when he first came to see Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children sports medicine surgeon, Philip L. Wilson, M.D.; he only knew that his knees hurt. But if you talk to him now, this young athlete knows all the symptoms to look out for and the importance of listening to your doctor when they say to rest.

Watson fondly remembers playing baseball and basketball with his friends in Longview. At 11 years old, he started to have pain in both knees, but he played on for several years. Eventually, the pain forced him to take a break. At this time, Watson sought help from the experts at Scottish Rite Hospital Sports Medicine Center. Shortly after meeting Dr. Wilson, Watson had surgery on both knees for OCD. Osteochondritis dissecans is the medical term for damage to the bone and soft covering of the surface of these bones. Unfortunately, there is not a clear picture of what causes this condition, but our experts are part of ongoing research for osteochondritis dissecans.

Since Watson was still growing, Dr. Wilson had to pay close attention to the growth in both of his legs. Working closely with John G. Birch, M.D., another pediatric orthopedic expert at Scottish Rite Hospital, Dr. Wilson monitored Watson’s legs closely to be sure they continued to grow symmetrically. At one point, another procedure was performed to straighten one of his legs. Now, at 17, he is a busy and active teenager who loves to play golf without complaints or signs of OCD.

Watson has flourished as a golfer since leaving more traditional “team sports” to protect his knees. He looks back at his experience including multiple surgeries, weeks in a wheelchair and months on crutches, and says:

“This experience has been really humbling. I’m lucky it’s just a surgery and a wheelchair for a while here and there. Some kids are in wheelchairs all the time. I think this will really help me with my golf game, on a bad round, [I will think of this] and remember I could still be in a wheelchair.”

Watch for him on the golfing circuit. As a member of the North Texas PGA Junior Tour, Watson dreams of following in the footsteps of the top golfers he admires.

For information about osteochondritis dissecans and pediatric sports medicine, please visit our Sports Medicine page

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