Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Surgery in NYC

The month of November means big things in Indiana sports - the Colts are usually doing well (though a little more worrisome this year), the Pacers get into action, and college basketball begins as well.  Here in Central Indiana, Purdue and IU and Butler reign supreme, and we at Immediate Info always enjoy the season.  So, you can imagine our disappointment when we learned that All-Big Ten forward Robbie Hummel of Purdue went down before the year even started with yet another torn ACL.  This was a huge blow to the Purdue team, as they were ranked in the top-5 nationally in most pre-season polls.  But, with arguably their best player already done before the season even starts, the outlook seems a little less exciting.

After meeting with radio host/writer/journalist Mark Montieth about his vision for a documentary, we quickly shot some game-footage, and interview with Robbie, and booked flights and hotel to New York City to be there to tape his surgery.  Immediate Info has spent many hours inside operating rooms through different surgeries utilizing the Da Vinci robot, but this was a bit different as it was a more "hands-on" procedure.  Needless to say, our time at the Hospital for Special Surgery was very interesting and welcomed by the accommodating staff.  This was a real treat for an Indianapolis based video production crew in a new place.

The surgery involved taking a piece of Robbie's patella tendon, a tendon that is large enough through the middle of the knee to provide a chunk to serve as a new ACL.  When the sample was taken, the main surgeon continued to clean and prep the inside of Robbie's knee with a laparoscope and plenty of sterile water.  The second surgeon took the piece of patella to a sterile table to shave and cut it into the appropriate shape and size before it was reattached into Robbie's knee to serve as his new ACL tendon.

Meanwhile, through all this, I am dodging around the room with a camera in an attempt to get clean shots and interesting angles despite the group of surgeons and assistants crowded around the knee.  The surgery took about 1.5 hours and was made more enjoyable due to some narration from the main surgeon, explaining the different steps and tasks of the process.  It was further interesting to look at this beyond just shooting the surgery, but to follow Robbie all the way from the entrance of the hospital to the check-in, to the OR, and to the recovery room.  In fact, he saw my camera before he saw his own parents when he woke up!

This project has already started out very interestingly, and a feature TV documentary should be a very cool final product.  This project will be ongoing for the next year, so more updates will come about Robbie's recovery and rehab, as well as the development of this story.