Back on the Ice Thanks to CentraCare M Physicians Orthopedics

“I’m thrilled to be feeling 100 percent back normal!”

St. Cloud State University Men’s Hockey Captain Gets Back in the Game With an Assist From CentraCare M Physicians Orthopedics

With dreams of playing in the National Hockey League (NHL) someday and his team riding high in the national rankings, a season-ending injury on his 24th birthday wasn’t exactly what Dylan Anhorn, a St. Cloud State University (SCSU) Men’s Hockey defenseman and team captain, had wished for. Now, he is praising the surgeons at CentraCare M Physicians Orthopedics for getting him back on the ice.

“I wasn’t sure if I’d ever play hockey again,” Anhorn confessed. “It was a scary thought at first … I don’t think I’d be standing here today if it weren’t for the way they repaired what was a really serious injury. I’m extremely grateful.”

DylanHailing from Canada, Anhorn transferred to SCSU for his fourth season. “I got off to a great start and we were winning many games!”

The 2023 Hobey Baker Award nominee had the attention of NHL recruiters and was looking forward to seeing his friends and family who were in town for his birthday game against University of Denver on Jan. 21, 2023.

As fate would have it, during a pre-game warmup, one of Anhorn’s teammates awkwardly landed on his foot, an accident he described as a “super fluke.”

“It was a shock,” confirmed the fifth-year player. “I think if we did it a million more times it probably wouldn’t happen again. I immediately just felt a lot of pain and realized I couldn’t put any pressure on it. It hurt that much.”

The defenseman was rushed into the team’s athletic training room and quickly evaluated by CentraCare M Physicians Orthopedics (CCMPO) Surgeon Kyle Martin, MD, who also serves as the lead physician assigned to SCSU’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 (D-1) Men’s Hockey team.

With CCMPO as the exclusive medical provider for all SCSU athletics, Dr. Martin says, “We take care of all the bumps, bruises, broken bones, strains, sprains and soft tissue injuries for the men’s team.”

When Dr. Martin first heard about Dylan’s off-ice injury, he wasn’t too concerned. “He had a story that seemed kind of innocuous … a minor injury during warm-ups … but he was in quite a bit more pain than you’d expect,” said Dr. Martin.

Anhorn wondered what his injury could mean for his future. “Anytime you hear that your foot is injured, you worry if you’re going to walk again, play the sport you love again or function as a fully capable human.”

The player’s excruciating pain suggested his injury was worse than the surgeon initially thought. After evaluating Dylan in the training room and obtaining X-rays of the injury, Dr. Martin consulted fellow CCMPO Surgeon Steve Jacobsen, MD, who specializes in foot and ankle surgery.

“Dr. Martin gave me a phone call within minutes of evaluating Dylan,” Dr. Jacobsen recalled. “We had time to assess the injury and the situation together and make a plan with Dylan and his family.”

That plan included surgery the following morning to fix Anhorn’s injury, followed by extensive rehabilitation and months of physical therapy. The goal was to get the D-1 player back to good health and on the ice.

“I was pleasantly surprised with how unbelievable CentraCare was for me and how quickly I got surgery the next morning — within close to 12 hours after the injury, which is unbelievable,” celebrated Anhorn.

He continued, “They were great at breaking down exactly what the process was going to be. The fact they told me it was going to be a long recovery process helped me mentally prepare.”

DylanThe NHL hopeful was willing to do whatever he needed to do to be able to play the sport he loved again. “We did resistive exercises using different machines and new up-to-date technology to get me started,” Anhorn evoked. “Every week I was able to slowly put more pressure on it. It required a lot of patience, and I learned a lot about myself as well.”

Dr. Martin was impressed with Anhorn’s motivation to heal, “Dylan deserves credit. He’s done a lot of work to get himself back on the ice and he looks great out there.”

Anhorn’s hard work paid off, and he was back on the ice in time to attend an exclusive invitation-only Washington Capitals Development Camp in June 2023 where he trained with other top NHL prospects.

“I like to say I’m a high IQ player with a great skating stride and skating ability too. So, props to CentraCare for making sure that was still a strength of mine after the injury,” Anhorn smiled.

Dr. Martin acknowledged, “That’s why we are here. That’s why we do what we do. We want to give people less pain, more function and get them back to that level of activity they are used to and striving for.”

One year after the hockey captain’s season-ending injury, he is back on the ice and says, “I’m thrilled to be feeling 100 percent back normal!” Anhorn added that this year’s birthday wish is a national championship win.