Foot surgery prepares Jacob to continue family college football tradition

During a workout in May 2019, Jacob Remmert, a tight end on the Cedar Falls High School football team, hobbled off the field with a fractured bone in his foot.

Jacob Remmert poses with his football helmet in front of a green screen
Successful foot surgery got Jacob back on the field for his senior year of high school, and this fall he begins his college career at the University of South Dakota.

Jacob’s grandfather, dad, and uncle all played football at the University of Northern Iowa. With his senior season and a big college recruiting year ahead, Jacob needed the right treatment to be ready to play and carry on the family tradition.

He and his parents chose University of Iowa Sports Medicine, the same team that treats the Iowa Hawkeyes football players.

UI orthopedic surgeon Kyle Duchman, MD, performed surgery later that month to repair the broken bone on the pinkie side of Jacob’s left foot, known as a Jones fracture. By mid-July, Jacob was back in football cleats, running the field during summer practice.

"My football career could have been finished without the right treatment,” Jacob says. “Dr. Duchman had the experience we wanted."

Iowa’s experts for Jones fracture treatment

A Jones fracture can be a slow-healing injury because of limited blood flow to that part of the foot. Jacob didn’t have time to wait. His team trainer suggested Duchman.

The Remmerts already trusted UI Sports Medicine. Orthopedic surgeon Brian Wolf, MD, had treated Jacob’s sister when she had an ACL tear. After consulting with Duchman, they knew they had made the right choice again.

“Dr. Duchman had seen this fracture with the Hawkeyes,” Jacob says. “That was key for us.”

Caused by overuse or repetitive stress on the bone, a Jones fracture can be treated with or without surgery. Duchman considered Jacob’s needs and recommended surgery.

“With nonsurgical treatment, this fracture often doesn't heal, or it refractures,” Duchman says. “We’re treating high-level athletes who want to return to play quickly and safely. Surgery is usually the best option, so they don’t have to deal with this problem down the road.”

Duchman says athletes across Iowa choose UI Sports Medicine for Jones fracture treatment. UI surgeons do an average of one surgery a month for the injury, so they’re always up to date on the latest techniques and have the skill required to get high-performing athletes back in action.

“Our expertise lies in performing the surgery as well as the decision-making about the most effective treatment and rehabilitation,” Duchman says.

Taking the family tradition in a new direction

After two weeks on crutches and in a cast, Jacob began physical therapy near home, following a rehabilitation protocol provided by Duchman and designed to restore ankle mobility and build strength in the legs and hips.

“The physical therapy was hard, but it had to be to get me ready to return to a full-contact sport,” Jacob says. "By mid-July, I had no pain and was ready to rock.”

After making it back from injury to compete during his senior year, Jacob broke family tradition and committed to play at the University of South Dakota, where he will begin his college career in the fall.

“Dr. Duchman gave me a clear plan,” Jacob says. “He was good to my family and me, checking in with updates about what I could and could not do yet. He’s a great doctor and a great person.”

Cedar Falls, Iowa