The Archer brothers’ bad luck with meniscus tears began in spring of 2019. That’s when, at a high school basketball tournament in Texas, Jadon Archer suffered the dreaded bucket handle tear — obvious right away, because he couldn’t straighten his leg. He had to limp through the Dallas airport, knee bent, to catch a plane home for surgery with Connecticut Children’s Division of Sports Medicine

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Two Brothers. One Sports-Related Injury.

Two years later, in December 2021, Jadon tore his other meniscus running basketball drills at junior college. Over winter break, he returned to Connecticut Children’s for his second surgery in two years.

By that time, brother Brennan Archer — five years younger, and a talented soccer player — had been playing through knee pain for months. Almost everyone believed it was a pulled hamstring. Brennan suspected otherwise. A few weeks after Jadon’s second surgery, it was confirmed: Brennan had a meniscus tear too. He needed the same surgery.

For mom Alison and dad Courtney, there was one silver lining. By now, they were very, very familiar with the team who would do it.

“The doctors and the PAs and medical assistants in Connecticut Children’s are all so welcoming and nice,” says Alison. “And they actually call you back! It’s amazing!”

In less than a month’s span, sports medicine expert Matthew J. Brown, MD, had led surgery on both brothers.

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The procedure to repair a meniscus tear is relatively short, but healing is a long process — about six months on the bench.

How common are meniscus tears in sports?

Meniscus injuries are one of the most common knee injuries out there. Sometimes they’re mild enough that the classic “RICE” formula — rest, ice, compression and elevation — is enough for recovery. But in other cases, especially for younger athletes, the recommendation is surgery. That’s because, without the right care, meniscus injuries can lead to arthritis later in life.

“As pediatric specialists, we try every measure possible to repair the meniscus in order to prevent early onset arthritis,” says Dr. Brown. “These kids only have one native set of knees. We want to delay cartilage injury as long as possible.”

To receive the right treatment, young athletes and their families need a team that specializes in how the body grows and changes into the mid-20s, like the specialists at Connecticut Children’s.

“I’d never had a big surgery before. But my brother had gone through the same thing, with the same people, so I knew what was going to happen,” Brennan says. “And I really liked Dr. Brown. He knew a lot about sports. He was easy to talk to.”

The procedure to repair a meniscus tear is relatively short, but healing is a long process — about six months on the bench. Connecticut Children’s Sports Medicine team is made of up experts who are athletes themselves, which means they understand the emotional and mental aspects of this process.

“It affects you a lot mentally,” says Brennan. “It helped that the sports medicine team understood my pain.”

So did his older brother, who was going through it at the same time. Having been through this before, Jadon had advice.

“Stay focused and keep your head right,” Jadon remembers telling Brennan. “It could be easy to think, ‘I’m injured, I’m giving up,’ and start doing stuff you shouldn’t be doing. Keep a good mindset and use it as a motivation to come back even harder.” 

That’s what they did, committing to a progressive regiment of physical therapy, and continuing to stay involved in their teams from the sidelines.

The goal: a double comeback.


They wanted to make sure I could still move.”

Jadon’s dream had always been a full-ride college scholarship for basketball. And before his second injury, it seemed about to come true. Recruiters were regularly visiting the school to watch him play, and he was fielding interested phone calls from top-tier schools.

After his injury, though, the calls stopped. “Once you get hurt, they’re looking for the next person,” he says. A full scholarship suddenly seemed beyond imagination.

Then, six months after surgery, he got a call from Saint Anselm College, a Division 2 school he’d thought was out of the picture. Could he come in for a trial workout? He got cleared by Dr. Brown and drove up to New Hampshire the same day.

The tryout was nerve-wracking — but he was confident.

“The team had seen me play before the injury, so they knew what I was capable of,” says Jadon. “They wanted to make sure the surgery went okay. They wanted to make sure I could still move.”

After, the coach called Jadon and his parents into his office. On the spot, he offered a full scholarship.

Jadon’s dream was no longer beyond imagination.

“It was definitely a good ride back home,” says Jadon.

An injury may end your season. But it shouldn’t end your dreams.

Brennan is now a high school senior, playing soccer year-round on premiere leagues as well as his school’s team. Jadon is in his second year at Saint Anselm College, coming off a championship year. Last spring, the Hawks won basketball’s Northeast-10 Conference.

The brothers, and their double comeback story, has made a lasting impact at Connecticut Children’s too.

“The Archer brothers’ success has really influenced the way we get meniscal repair patients back to sports,” says Dr. Brown. “We set up a program to establish the timepoint that the vast majority of patients can safely return to play, and these two played a big part.”

For every young athlete, the takeaway is clear: An injury may end your season. But it shouldn’t end your dreams.

“Be positive. Keep working hard. Do what the doctor says. And everything will be okay,” says Brennan.

“Keep fighting through it,” agrees Jadon. “You’re gonna have some bad days. But you can always control your effort and your attitude. You never know when your moment will come.”