Sideline Savior

How Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, adolescent specialist, helped a patient to cope.
Elaine Porterfield  |   Seattle Health Summer 2012   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Audrey Brezak scores one for her lacrosse team

A painful sports injury that refused to heal sent Woodinville high school senior and star athlete Audrey Brezak to Dr. Cora Collette Breuner. But it was rapport that led her to stay on after her initial treatment ended. Brezak says that in addition to helping her heal physically, Breuner helped her deal with the crushing news that her competitive days in sports were over. “It was a career ender,” she now says matter-of-factly of the injury that sidelined her. Having someone like Breuner involved, someone who understands both the physical and emotional trauma that Ashley experienced, “has just been huge,” says mom Lucinda Brezak, noting that Breuner helped her daughter come to terms with the end of her athletic career.

Breuner, a professor of adolescent medicine and an adjunct professor of orthopedics and sports medicine at Seattle Children’s, is a terrific all-around doctor, says Brezak, 18, who first saw her along with a surgeon. “She was really helpful, really good at explaining things.”

The injury occurred as a result of her intense sports regime; Brezak’s soccer team took second place in state twice, and her lacrosse team was in first place. Along the way, her hip started hurting, and the pain did not stop. Ultimately, it wasn’t good news: she needed hip surgery.

After surgery, Brezak could no longer play at an intense level. But her relationship with Breuner continued. There is no awkwardness with her visits, no subject off limits, no lecturing, she says. “If I have a question…I feel like she is the best person to see about it. She seems to understand more, she specializes in teens. She kind of anticipates the questions. And I know she’s not judging me.”

And how inspiring has her relationship with Breuner been? Well, Brezak now says she wants to go to medical school and become a doctor.