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D1 Athlete Returns to Sport after Bilateral Hip Arthroscopy

Posted on September 2, 2022

University of Denver Soccer Player describes her experience with Dr. Daniel Haber and her smooth return to an active lifestyle 

As a D1 college athlete, Anna is passionate about living an active lifestyle.  She has always loved soccer, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and long-distance running.  When she moved to Colorado to play D1 College Soccer at the University of Denver, she also started rock climbing, hiking, and skiing… until hip pain sidelined her game. 

“After a number of months of rehab for hip pain in the college training room, my athletic trainer recommended an MRI on both hips. This was after rehab and regular treatment plans didn’t reduce the pain,” Anna explains.  She was referred to see Dr. Daniel Haber, who is a team physician for University of Denver sports teams as a part of their partnership with Panorama Orthopedics & Spine. 

Anna was diagnosed with hip impingement (FAI), and had full thickness labral tears with cam deformities in both hips.  With the goal of returning to soccer and a fully active lifestyle, arthroscopic (minimally invasive) hip surgery was the best next step for her situation. This treatment plan would require two surgeries, one in March for the left hip, and one in July for the right hip.  

“The first surgery was virtually pain free, just a little stiff for the first handful of weeks,” says Anna.  “I was able to start biking and PT the day after my surgery.” 

In between surgeries, Anna was already back to walking, lifting weights, and some light running and soccer before July.  She even climbed a 14’er just days prior to her second hip surgery. The second surgery went just as smooth as the first and Anna is hard at work rehabbing her second side.  

How was her recovery so smooth? Anna credits Dr. Haber’s surgical experience and expertise, as well as her own dedication to the detailed physical therapy plan.  “Haber must be extremely talented at his profession because I still cannot fathom how I came out of surgery and even in the first week experienced no pain,” she says.  After surgery, she put the time and energy into her exercises and stuck to the very structured treatment plan.  “This recovery is a smooth and relatively quick transition back into everyday life.” 

“I have not regretted choosing arthroscopic hip surgery for one moment,” emphasized Anna.  With the months of rehab leading up to surgery, Anna was confident that this was the right step for her in order to return to an active lifestyle.  “Dr. Haber was always very attentive and willing to answer the long list of questions I always seemed to have. His team is also very personable and the response time to all of my emails and phone calls was almost immediate.” 

After she fully recovers from her second surgery, Anna plans to start training for an Iron Man in the spring and return to playing semi-pro soccer. 

“I remember my first weighted squat after my first hip surgery, and I stood in the weight room with tears in my eyes because I couldn’t remember the last time I had done that movement without the pain I had been in for so long. It felt smooth and completely pain free… soon I’ll be able to do everyday activities with both hips without even noticing my pain.” 

Dr. Daniel Haber

Dr. Haber is a sports medicine and orthopedic surgeon at Panorama Orthopedics & Spine, specializing in musculoskeletal conditions of the shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee. He sees patients in north Denver, including Broomfield, Erie, Lafayette, and Superior.