With the Colorado Eagles set to open the regular season against the Alaska Aces Friday and Saturday, it’s a sure bet Eagles star forward Chad Costello isn’t looking for a repeat of last season’s last game against same squad.
Costello, the ECHL‘s Most Valuable Player of the 2011-2012 season, was having the best season of his career when he skated after a rival Aces player during a March contest.
At the time, Costello led the ECHL in goals and the Eagles had already secured its spot in the league’s upcoming playoffs.
But Costello wasn’t resting on his proverbial laurels as he scrambled to steal the puck from an Aces player.
In a flash, Costello’s season was over.
The Alaska player turned into Costello’s path and the two collided awkwardly, knee-to-knee. His opponent was unscathed, but Costello knew immediately that his injury was serious. As he struggled to rise on his skates his right knee buckled, and the pain was intense.
“Right then I was wondering if I would ever skate again,” Costello said recently.
He had good reason to wonder. The damage was extensive: a torn ACL in his left knee along with damage to the MCL and meniscus. Not only had Costello’s season come to an end, but at age 25 his career was also in question.
Costello went through physical therapy provided by Chris Porowski, the Eagles trainer and an athletic trainer at Orthopedic and Spine Center of the Rockies. Costello is now completing his rehab with daily workouts at Poudre Valley Medical Fitness in Windsor, the first such health, wellness and rehab center in northern Colorado.
Medical Fitness, which opened in 2010, is part of a new trend in fitness centers established by health systems to offer closely monitored services and equipment.
“This place has had a big role in my rehab,” Costello said.
–By Liam Rooney, Fort Collins writer, and Gary Kimsey, University of Colorado Health marketing specialist