A natural athlete, Clif H. Dunn spent most of his life playing sports, running and bike riding. But in one heroic moment, his favorite activities were stripped away from him.
On a rainy Friday afternoon in 2010, Clif, an executive producer for a TV network, was working on location on the corner of Sepulveda and Ventura Boulevard. His team had worked together for the last six months producing a 30-minute show.
Around 2 p.m. that day, Clif went to the store to get snacks for the team. As he was leaving the store, he noticed an SUV that was unusually parked. Then, he heard a blood-curdling scream coming from the inside. As he walked toward the car, the door flung open and a woman emerged screaming for help. The other passenger grabbed her and pulled her back in.
“I realized he had damaged her face quite a bit, so I called 911. The man got out and began screaming that he was not going back to jail,” Clif recalled.
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The police informed Clif to follow him, but to keep a safe distance. Clif watched the perpetrator get hit by a car, get thrown up into the air, land on the roof, but somehow continued to move.
“The police started to chase him in their car down the sidewalk towards me,” he said. “The guy took one last lunge towards me and I stepped away from him. Because I was on the curb, I stepped off the edge and fell. I heard my knee pop as it went in the wrong direction.”
As an athlete, Clif was familiar to pain and injury, but this pain surpassed any other he had felt before.
“I played football for 12 years and was a bike racer who had a really bad wreck when I was 18. I know what pain feels like, and this was pretty bad,” he said.
“Within three seconds of looking at me, Dr. Hatch knew I tore my ACL. After running tests, he came back and confirmed the injury,” he said.
Clif underwent reconstructive surgery for his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
“My surgery was remarkably pain free. I spent a few weeks in rehab at home, and then, I was good to walk around again,” he said.
The level of care Clif received at Keck Medicine of USC astonished him.
“Keck Medicine of USC is easy to deal with. Everyone explains everything in full detail,” Clif said. “You don’t ever feel like a number. I would highly recommend Keck Medicine of USC to anyone who encounters a situation like mine.”
Now, Clif is returning to sports with 50-mile bike rides and doing the things that he loves.
That’s just another example of The Keck Effect – giving patients the opportunity to recover from heroic adventures and return to living their lives.
Learn more about the USC Epstein Family Center for Sports Medicine.