Competitive athlete defeated spinal diseases

Los Angeles (July 22, 2021) –

Convincing video for download HERE

Newswise – Then a few years ago, the high school junior from Calabasas, California started experiencing pain in her hamstring and lower back. After seeing numerous doctors and exhausting all treatment options – from physical therapy to acupuncture – her condition only got worse and she lost the flexibility that is essential for gymnastics.

The pain was so severe that it interfered with Nostein’s most basic activities, such as going to school or sitting in a chair for long periods of time.

“I lost my strength,” said Neinstein, 15. “While my teammates were getting better, I felt like I was getting worse.”

From powerless to powerful

In January 2020, Neinstein could not stand the pain or disappointment of the deterioration in her skills and visited David L. Skaggs, MD, MMM, Co-Director of the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center, Director of the Children’s Orthopedics Program and Vice Chairman of the Institute of Orthopedics .

Skaggs diagnosed Neinstein as having spondylolisthesis, a displacement of a vertebra in the spine in which the bone slides from its correct position onto the bone below. The condition affects 1 in 20 people in the United States

Skaggs says most spondylolisthesis cases in children do not require surgery. Nostein’s case, however, was one of the worse he had ever seen.

“Molly’s L5 vertebra had slipped, causing her bone to rub against another bone, causing the relentless back pain,” he said.

Neinstein had two options: to give up gymnastics or to undergo spinal stiffening that could bring her back to gymnastics, but with the risk of paralysis.

To Neinstein the answer was clear. She was operated on in May.

“I’m really trying to think of the positives,” Neinstein said. “Because I know, when I think of the negative, it just won’t be as good a comeback as it could have been.”

Skaggs, a former NCAA All-American college athlete, knew that Neinstein would not give up on her dream to be a top athlete.

“Most really great athletes and most top athletes don’t want to stop competing because they have this incredible work ethic and play with pain,” said Skaggs.

Skaggs’ goal was to bring Neinstein back to a painless life and do what she loves in time for the college recruitment season in the fall of 2022.

Skaggs performed a spinal fusion, leaving the two vertebrae rubbing against each other, and adding screws over those vertebrae to keep them in place.

“Molly is a level 10 gymnast, which means that not only is she fearless, but she’s also incredibly talented, strong, balanced and dedicated,” said Skaggs. “She is on track to become an NCAA Division 1 scholarship. She can do things that scare me. “

Her mother, Barbra Neinstein, said she admired her daughter’s commitment.

“She made a decision at a young age that she wanted to go to a Division 1 college and that was her goal,” she said. “It’s her dream. And that’s what she’s been working towards.”

Today, two months after the operation, Neinstein lies down on the mats again and continues on her way to join a division 1 gymnastics team.

“If you stay positive, your recovery will be better because you will keep working on what you want,” Neinstein said. “The love I have for the sport just keeps me going.”

Read more from the Cedars Sinai blog: Faces of the Cedar Sinai: Dr. David Skaggs