Turning A Potentially Devastating Diagnosis into a Success Story
Growing up, Jaden Bode had always had knee pain. Doctors told his mother Jamie that they were just growing pains, so though the pain continued, they didn’t worry about it too much. However, in September of 2018, they found that the pain he’d had growing up was much more than just growing pains.
Jaden, an Oak Hills High School football player, took a helmet to his left knee during a game. Though there was some pain and he was having trouble bending it, it was not excruciating. His first thought was not, “I need to go to the Emergency Room.” Rather, he saw the Oak Hills High School trainer every day for a week after. When his symptoms didn’t improve, the trainer referred him to Beacon.
Jaden’s first appointment with Dr. David Argo was not what he was expecting. He was diagnosed with Osteochondritis Dissecans, a joint condition in which the bone underneath the cartilage dies due to lack of blood flow getting to the joint. “We were devastated when he was first diagnosed with Osteochondritis Dissecans. It was extremely hard watching our normally very active son sidelined with his condition,” Jamie says.
However, after their first meeting with Dr. Argo, both she and Jaden felt better. “I felt comfortable and trusted him knowing he was one of the few doctors in the whole country that treated this condition. He knew what he was talking about!” Jaden says.
After an arthroscopy, they found out the extent of his condition: the entire weight bearing part of his left knee was dead. Jaden felt devastated again and wondered if he would ever return to his previous “normal.”
Mild cases of Osteochondritis Dissecans can be treated with physical therapy and rest. These more conservative options are usually explored first before surgery is discussed. Surgery is only discussed if there is a great need for it, such as if the bone has stopped growing or if there is a piece of bone that has broken off. In Jaden’s case, Dr. Argo believed that waiting for a donor bone to replace the damaged one was the best option.
Waiting for A Donor
While each case varies by conditions such as age and diagnosis, waiting for a donor can take months. From the start, Dr. Argo was vigilantly waiting for the best donor for Jaden. Bones that will fit a 16-year-old, 6’4” football player are few and far between. The family knew that waiting for a bone, going through recovery, and completing physical therapy could take nine months or longer.
While waiting for a donor, the reality of what this diagnosis meant set in. Jaden was in his sophomore year of school, arguably one of the most important year for high school football. While he should have been working his hardest and getting scouted for college, he was sat on the sidelines waiting for a bone donor. They were nervous he wouldn’t recover by June 2019, the time he was supposed to go to college football camps.
In December of 2018 the family got the call they had been hoping for: Dr. Argo had found a donor bone that would work for Jaden! This call brought about another round of emotions ranging from hopeful to terrified. The surgery itself was very detailed, and if something went wrong, Jaden may never play football again. Up until that phone call, they hadn’t realized that waiting for a donor meant
waiting for another family to lose “their Jaden.” It was a heartbreaking realization, but they were grateful for the decision of the other person to donate part of their body to help their son.
The surgery went well, but Jaden was in excruciating pain for three days after. As with any major surgery, the recovery process was lengthy and quite painful at times. However, by day four he was ready to begin physical therapy and get back on his feet. At his follow-up with Dr. Argo, Jaden and Jamie were able to see pictures of his knee during and after surgery. “That bone fit like a glove in Jaden’s knee. We couldn’t have been happier with his work on our son,” Jamie says.
Today, Jaden is playing varsity football at Oak Hills High School pain free. He has also received a letter informing him that he is a priority prospect for the 2021 recruiting class at a local university. “Dr. Argo is an inspiration and has me thinking of becoming an Orthopedic surgeon,” he says. “Dr. Argo and his staff are amazing!”