When Injuries Attack, Basketball Pro Patrick Patterson Strikes Back
On his way to living the sporting life of his dreams, he faced not one but two frightening injuries. But with dedication to recovery—and Mueller Sports Medicine products—Patrick Patterson stays in the game…every game. Sports Illustrated partnered with Mueller Sports Medicine to bring you this inspiring story of an athlete overcoming physical adversity.
When Patrick Patterson was growing up in Huntington, West Virginia, he never thought he was the most talented kid on the basketball court. Playing in local youth organizations, he always just tried his best to get the ball in the hoop. “It didn’t happen too often,” he confesses, “but when it did, I felt like I was a hero—nothing but loud cheers, high fives and congratulations.”
Such moments compelled him to continue playing, his skills inevitably improving. He was named an All-American in high school and won three consecutive state titles. “Once I saw firsthand how good I was getting with age, winning championships, becoming nationally recognized,” he says, “I knew I had something here that could take me where I wanted to go in life.”
After committing to a legendary college basketball program, Patterson made an immediate impact, finishing first on the team in minutes-per-game and rebounds-per-game, while outpacing all but one in scoring.
But as his freshman season neared a close, and his team readied itself for the championship tournament, Patterson suffered a severe stress fracture in his left ankle. “I’ve never cried so hard in my life, up until that point,” Patterson says. “Nothing but negative thoughts were running through my mind.”
Patterson missed the rest of that season and his team was eliminated in the tournament’s first round. Instead of going pro, Patterson returned to school on a mission to bring his squad back to the postseason.
First, he would have to recover from ankle surgery. “Rehab basically was me and the trainers, every day, doing strengthening exercises and stretching,” Patterson says.
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After two more years in college—with one lengthy run in the championship tournament under his belt—Patterson declared for the professional draft in 2010 and was selected in the first round. Since then, he’s established himself as a power forward to reckon with, while constantly stretching and doing mobility exercises to help keep his ankle in shape.
These experiences with injury helped him push through recovery from knee surgery a year ago, just as he was set to begin the regular season with a new team. “I was nervous at first because I’ve never had any kind of knee issues before,” Patterson discloses. “But thankfully, with the great team I have around me, we were able to find the best solution and address the issue. Now I feel great.”
He’s done countless leg exercises after another stretch of post-surgery physical therapy, and though he’s dished out plenty of assists on the court, Patterson’s also been on the receiving end of assists from Mueller Sports Medicine.
“Mueller tape is the only tape I use before games,” Patterson says. “It has a nice stretch to it, but also keeps my ankle in a comfortable position while allowing it to still move with no resistance.” He says Mueller’s ankle braces “fit perfectly, almost like a sock,” and he started using the kinesiology tape for the first time this season on his right wrist after spraining it. That product, Patterson says, “helped with not only my shooting, but the recovery process as well.”
Such dedication to recovery paid off. This past year, for the first time in his professional career, Patterson played in every game of the regular season.
Now, only one dream remains for Patterson: He hopes to be on the court, one day, helping his team win a professional championship.