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New ACL implant brings hope to Philadelphia high school quarterback in recovery process

Revolutionary ACL implant offers hope for athletes in recovery process
Revolutionary ACL implant offers hope for athletes in recovery process 02:33

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — ACL injuries are common and often involve difficult surgery and a long recovery. There's now a way to treat the common knee injury that allows the body to heal itself and enables patients to avoid painful reconstructive surgery. 

Seventeen-year-old Mahir Jordan is in physical therapy while recovering from a torn ACL, which is a ligament in the knee.

"I couldn't walk or nothing. I was crying that night, it was just hurting," Jordan said.


The quarterback of Northeast High School's football team was also worried about his future playing. He has high hopes for college and the NFL.

"I hope when I come back I'm the same person I was before," Jordan said.

Dr. Sean Waldron at Shriners Children's Philadelphia repaired his knee with a new implant.

He says the new high-tech implant is a less invasive surgery than traditional ACL reconstruction, that uses a healthy tendon from another part of the leg. 


"The BEAR implant is really a revolutionary way of treating ACL tears," Waldron said. "It stands for bridge enhanced ACL repair."

In surgery, the BEAR implant is placed around the torn edges of the ACL that are sewn together. It helps healing and is then reabsorbed into the body. 

"We've never had any way of getting the ACL to heal itself," Waldron said. "It gives you better knee mechanics, biomechanics during the rehab process and getting back to sports."


Jordan says he's happy to have a new implant that will hopefully help him get back to playing football ASAP.

"I like to try new things. I think it's going very good," Jordan said. "If I keep going to therapy I should be able to return and be my normal self."

His mother, Malaika Wilford, is also grateful for the new technology.

"It's amazing and he's doing great," Wilford said.

Waldron says the BEAR implant makes repeat injuries easier to fix and there's some evidence it reduces the risk for arthritis.

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