By Bill Benner, Sports Journalist
This is a hip hip hooray story.
Hip for a first successful hip replacement. Hip for a second.
And hooray that a young student-athlete and his parents found the doctor at Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics who put years of puzzlement and pain in the rear-view mirror.
That doctor was Forte’s Lucian “Luke” Warth. The student-athlete was 17-year-old Jackson Tetrick, then a rising junior on the tennis team at Decatur Central High School.
The story goes back a decade when young Jackson was 6 and began playing youth soccer.
“Afterward, he always complained that he was hurting,” says his mother, Melissa. “Even as he got into high school, he still had issues and even had pain when he was walking.”
The pain, specifically, was in Jackson’s hips. His mother, Melissa, and father, Chris – began a search for answers, first to a pediatrician, then to a sports medicine doctor, then to another physician.
“That doctor came into the exam room with the x-rays and said Jackson had double hip dysplasia. He said he could do the surgery, but it was only a 50 percent chance it would work,” Melissa said.
Hip dysplasia, in layman’s terms, is when the femoral ball does not fit properly into the socket of the hip.
Thus, with the diagnosis came another referral … this time to Dr. Warth at Forté in the summer of 2021. Warth did the first hip replacement in June that allowed Jackson to play junior-year tennis. His second hip replacement followed in November.
“Jackson had very complex and unique anatomy of his pelvis which made the surgery more difficult,” said Dr. Warth. “But I was confident that with well-done total hip replacements, he would bounce back quickly and improve dramatically.”
Which is precisely what occurred. Within weeks from the second surgery, Jackson was back on the tennis court, first assisting the girls’ team and then resuming his own playing career.
“It’s been an amazing experience the last two years,” said Chris, Jackson’s father. “Dr. Warth and the staff were a wonderful group of people. As soon as you walk in, you could sense the professionalism and caring both for Jackson and us, his family. And they were very confident he would fully recover.”
“Jackson was understandably nervous,” said Melissa. “But their attitude was, ‘Look, we got you. We will get you through this.’ “
“I’m just so excited that Jackson can be a kid again,” said Dr. Warth. “He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t run. He couldn’t play tennis. I was a baseball player as a teenager. I can’t imagine that being taken away. More importantly, he’s going to need those hips for another 70 years.”
More immediately, Jackson will be back playing for his school, at No. 2 singles when the season returns. And when he’s not playing, he will be announcing, serving as the play-by-play voice for Decatur Central games on the school’s streaming network, DCHS Live. He will pursue that career next fall when he enrolls in Ball State University’s media school. Someday, he hopes to be on ESPN or Fox Sports.
And, who knows, perhaps his signature call will be … Hip, Hip, Hooray!