When world-class U.S. fencer and Linden resident Aleksander Ochocki underwent his fourth knee surgery last November, there were serious concerns about his athletic future.
But just six months later — after a comprehensive rehabilitation program at SportsCare Institute — Ochocki has captured the 2014 Summer Nationals and is pointing toward the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Ochocki suffered severe cartilage degeneration due to the repeated impact of landing down on his leading leg while fencing. During most recent surgery last November, a cadaver graft of cartilage was inserted into his knee. The incision was much larger than anticipated and he ended up with significant muscle atrophy.
Ochocki began rehabilitation at SportsCare Institute with a preexisting knee injury a year before his surgery. He trained to get himself through the season and maintain his points and rankings and, despite his injury, competed at the Pan American Championships and performed extremely well. When the season ended, he went into surgery.
After surgery, physical therapist Ric Costa, PT, DPT trained him in balance, control, and eccentric motion, and assisted him in exercises to build muscle strength and enhance his ability to move backward efficiently.
“We worked closely with Aleks as he began his performance and strength training,” says Costa. “He was so determined to regain muscle strength and get back to competing. We were thrilled to hear he brought home the gold at Summer Nationals. He’s made a spectacular recovery. I couldn’t be more impressed and I look forward to seeing him in Rio.”
Ochocki’s previous accolades include being two-time NCAA Individual Champion, two-time NCAA Team Champion, four-time First Team All-American and the 2013 US National Champion. He is currently a fencing coach and serves as a member of the United States Senior National Team and of the Olympic Developmental Program.