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Michelle Akers Undergoes Successful Shoulder Surgery

CHICAGO (Thursday, April 6, 2000) - U.S. Women's National Team veteran Michelle Akers underwent successful surgery yesterday in Orlando, Fla. as Team Physician Dr. Rob Palumbo repaired damage from a dislocation to her right shoulder on Feb. 27. Akers suffered a "SLAP lesion" when she fell after colliding with a goalkeeper during a training match, meaning that the biceps anchor of her right shoulder was pulled off the insertion point. Palumbo performed the arthroscopic surgery that re-attached the biceps anchor and performed a capsular shrinkage to reduce the laxity in the shoulder joint.

"The procedure went very well and there were no complications," said Palumbo. "She needs to rest and protect her shoulder for three to four weeks and then she'll begin a progressive rehabilitation program. We expect her to be back training no later than July. When she woke up, the first thing she asked me was whether she could ride her horse. I told her that would have to wait."

Akers, 34, has scored 104 goals in 147 international matches for the USA. She is a walking, kicking history of the U.S. Women's National Team having played in the first-ever match in 1985, as well as three Women's World Cups and the 1996 Olympics. Akers was the top scorer in the 1991 Womens' World Cup in China and won the Bronze Ball as the third most outstanding player at the 1999 Women's World Cup.

Akers has come back from a dozen knee surgeries, an orbital fracture that required surgery, numerous knocks to the head and her share of stitches as well as her much chronicled battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, to make her mark as perhaps the greatest women's soccer player in history.

Her shoulder surgery was filmed by Discovery Health Channel's "The FITeam Power Hour," a series that offers an inside look at how athletes achieve mental and physical fitness, and gives practical information for anyone seeking a vigorous, balanced lifestyle. The series, expected to premiere in September, will feature Akers' comeback from what should be her final surgery and her commitment to getting into shape for a run at her final Olympics.