Mitch's Story

Jun 6, 2019

Plastic Surgeon restores Quarterback's nose and State Championship dreams

In January 2007, 17-year old Mitch Lovett of Macomb Township dreamt of being the starting quarterback for the Dakota High Cougars. But in an instant, his dreams seemed crushed.

Mitch and some teammates were playing after class on the field behind school, when Mitch attempted a tackle he’ll never forget. “I dove for the kid to take his legs out, and as I was coming toward the ground the back of his heel just came up to my nose and knocked my head back, and that’s when I heard a loud pop,” he says. “I knew right away something was wrong.”

Mitch was dizzy, and when he finally cleared his eyes, he saw a puddle of blood. He called his mother, who rushed to the field.

“I pulled up and he comes walking toward me,” says his mother. “I’m like ‘Oh, my God!’ because his nose was pointing in the opposite…like toward his ear.” She took him to the local hospital, where they planned to treat it as a normal break. His parents knew that injury was more serious, and decided to take Mitch to DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Mitch was seen by the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Children’s, Dr. Arlene Rozzelle. Her exam revealed that he had a severe deviation of the nose. The bones were shattered, and an immediate CAT scan was ordered. Mitch’s mother was relieved “I was amazed…you know, these people are really on the ball here. I felt like he was in really good hands.”

The 3-d CAT scan showed just how badly the bones had been crushed and pushed to the side. They were in multiple fragments, complicating the surgery. It’s very important to mold all the fragments back into position and supply support from inside and outside the nose, to hold everything in position as it heals.

“With an injury this significant, you have to warn the patient that there may be further surgery down the line,” says Dr. Rozzelle. “Especially in a growing child, because growth can cause further disturbance or deviation.”

Mitch was given pain medication, and admitted to the hospital for the surgery. Afterward, he was sent home with specific instructions on keeping the nose protected from any pressure which might undo the delicate surgical repairs. Mitch slept upright in a lounge chair for several weeks.

After several weeks, the packing and splints were removed, and everyone was pleased with the overall result – the nose was straight. The restrictions were hard for Mitch to live with: no running, lifting – no sports of any kind. He was disappointed to be placed on the fourth string of the team until his injuries healed completely. Once the healing was complete, he put in grueling hours training during the summer, and finally won the starting quarterback job. His team went undefeated, and won the state championship.

“Next thing you know, you’re winning a state championship,” says Mitch in closing.

“It’s basically just the perfect way to end the story that you never thought would happen.”