On an October Saturday in 2016, Grant Newsome was hoping he’d sprained his MCL.

Newsome, then the starting left tackle for the University of Michigan Wolverines, had had a weird feeling about a second-quarter play at the Big House. Instead of diving through the legs of his opponent, as planned, he realized there might not be enough space. Instead, Newsome stayed standing.

He got hit below the kneecap, his cleat caught in the turf and he found himself lying on the field on his stomach.

Something wasn’t right. Around halftime, he was told he needed more tests, and headed to Michigan Medicine.

Newsome was frustrated, preparing himself to miss a couple of weeks.

“I was doing the math, I thought I’d be back by the Michigan State game…” he remembers. He still had his uniform on, watching the second half of the Michigan vs. Wisconsin game from his hospital room.

He did walk off the field after getting hit, so he was even hoping he’d get to go back to watch his teammates finish the game in person.

A ‘high stakes situation’
That’s until the physical exam continued and the doctors asked Newsome if his leg or foot was tingling. It was, and it was numb too. This started a whole battery of vascular tests.

“You get a sinking feeling, ‘This isn’t as routine as I initially thought,’” Newsome remembers.

Upon realizing Newsome might be experiencing a dangerous lack of blood flow, physicians paged the vascular surgeon on call. Matthew Corriere, M.D., an associate professor of surgery at the Michigan Medicine Frankel Cardiovascular Center, flipped off the U-M game on his TV at home, just a few miles away, and got in his truck.

“They were concerned he had a posterior knee dislocation, which is when the artery gets pinched between the femur and tibia bones,” Corriere says. “There’s a very real risk of leg amputation when this happens so it’s a high stakes situation.”

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