When Greenwich High School senior and hockey standout Alex Mozian was awarded team MVP, Division 1 MVP and 1st Team All State by the CT State Hockey Coaches Association, he knew his success was due in large part to the efforts of another team entirely: the sports medicine specialists and physical therapists at at Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists (ONS).
That's because after a series of compounding on-ice injuries, he was not only able to resume playing the game he loved, but do so at an elite level.
“Before the injuries, Alex was getting noticed by college scouts," said Joe Mozian, Alex’s father. “Junior year should have been his year.” Instead, Alex was sidelined with potentially career-ending injuries.
His troubles began in December 2016, when the skate of an opposing player lacerated Alex’s lower right leg. After the wound began to swell and refused to heal properly, he visited ONS foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Sean Peden.
Based on the nature of the cut and Alex’s inability to lift his leg, Peden determined that the anterior tibial tendon had been ruptured. “The tendon was completely severed and had retracted, meaning the cut edges had separated from each other significantly,” said Peden. Fortunately for Alex, a cutting edge procedure allowed him to remain in a cast for just two weeks.
Remarkably, Alex was back on the ice by mid-March, scoring a hat trick and an assist at his first game in April. However, during his third game back, Alex suffered a knee-on-knee collision with an opponent that resulted in a lateral meniscus tear to his left knee. Once again, the Mozian family turned to ONS.
Sports medicine physician and knee specialist, Dr. Katherine Vadasdi, surgically repaired the injury. The procedure went without a hitch, but Alex was required to go through physical therapy rehabilitation. As a result, he was forced to miss the rest of the Nationals tournament, the US hockey showcase and various spring and summer showcase tournaments for colleges.
After a summer of training and rehabilitation with ONS physical therapist Courtney Kireilis, Alex was cleared to skate in August and began league play. Then, the unthinkable happened. A freak collision with an opponent brought Alex crashing to the ice with a broken scaphoid bone in his right wrist, a particularly difficult bone to repair. While most scaphoid fractures typically take at least 12 weeks to heal, ONS’s Dr. Mark Vitale was able to surgically insert a tiny compression screw to stimulate healing.
“The surgery was personalized to Alex to allow for early range of motion and durable protection to the bone in the earlier healing periods, which is much more important to a high level athlete looking for rapid return to play,” said Vitale.
Alex returned to the ice in October stronger and better than ever, scoring a season high of 60 goals and assists to lead the Greenwich Cardinals to the state finals for the first time since 2014.
While Alex is sad to leave behind his Cardinals teammates, his career will continue with a post-graduate year at The Hotchkiss School, his next step towards becoming an NCAA hockey player.
“Everyone at ONS made me feel like I was their most important patient," he said. "I felt like they were working with me so I could achieve my goals.”
ONS has offices in Greenwich and Stamford, Conn. and Harrison, N.Y. To learn more about the surgical and rehabilitative services offered by ONS, click here.