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Sports Specialist Helps Gymnasts Keep Balanced

Bridgette at the high bar
Elite gymnast Bridgette Caquatto.

Naperville sisters Bridgette and Mackenzie Caquatto, 18 and 20, started practicing gymnastics as toddlers.

Today both are international medalists; Bridgette at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, Mackenzie at the 2010 World Gymnastics Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

"We've grown up training together, supporting each other, pushing each other in the gym," Mackenzie said.

"We've grown up training together, supporting each other, pushing each other in the gym," Mackenzie said.
Holly Benjamin, MD

The duo share more than a passion for gymnastics and athletic scholarships, though. Their sports medicine specialist is Holly Benjamin, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Benjamin has seen the sisters frequently, given the physical stress the one-time 2012 Olympic hopefuls undergo. Mackenzie, who has sustained a torn ligament and two knee fractures, says that Benjamin "always makes herself available … to take care of us as soon as she can."

Benjamin, who began seeing the sisters four years ago at her Naperville office, is director of the sports medicine program at the University of Chicago. She did her residency in pediatrics here, where she has practiced since 1994.

Dr. Benjamin ‘always makes herself available... to take care of us as soon as she can.’

As a medical student, she worked with one of the first sports medicine specialists in the country, which "made me realize that this was something that I could do with my career as well."

Prompt diagnosis and rehabilitation means a quicker, safer return to sports, she said.
Another patient is David Portugal, 12, a member of the Chicago Fire Developmental Academy team and son of Louis de Guzman Portugal, MD, an associate professor of surgery here.

The soccer player practices for 60 to 90 minutes daily up to four times a week. David began feeling pain in his knee and ankle a year ago and went to Benjamin. He was put in a knee and ankle brace and was playing soccer again in three weeks. He saw her again in early 2012 after sustaining an ankle fracture, which led to another three-week stint in a brace. He has since learned the importance of doing stretches. Before, "I kind of slacked off," he said.

July 2012


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