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Abby Wambach Undergoes Successful Surgery

CHICAGO, Ill. (July 17, 2008) -- U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach underwent successful surgery this morning to repair a broken leg suffered in the USA’s 1-0 victory over Brazil last night. The surgery, which took about an hour, was performed by Dr. Damion Valletta, a U.S. Soccer orthopedic surgeon.

Wambach underwent a procedure called a “left tibia intramedullary nail placement” that inserts a titanium rod to reinforce the broken tibia, with screws to anchor the rod below the knee and above the ankle. The broken fibula was realigned and will heal on its own.

“Everything went according to plan, there were no complications and small incisions were used to minimize the soft tissue irritability from the surgery,” said Dr. Valletta. “We’ll have her stay in the hospital until tomorrow, monitor the pain and control the swelling in her leg. We anticipate that she will be discharged tomorrow on crutches and will start being able to put a small amount of weight on the leg.”

Wambach, who is resting comfortably, will be able to begin full weight-bearing activities on the leg within 5-6 weeks due to the stabilization of the leg with the titanium rod.

“She’s sustained a very significant injury to her bone,” said Dr. Valletta. “It can sometimes take a year to return a professional player to her previous level of activity, but the expectation is that we will have an aggressive rehab program and progress her weight-bearing rapidly to minimize her time lost for competition.”