We drove far and saw the specialist today. She's an arm specialist and is someone that understands high performing child athletes and their needs (we went to a children's hospital). She is scheduled for surgery next Wednesday. The doctor told us that for any "regular" child, surgery isn't necessary, but 100%, no doubt in her mind, will need it for sports like gymnastics or baseball (pitchers), etc. The chipped fracture is facing the wrong way, so it'll be turned back and then screwed onto her humerus. No nerve damage that she's worried about right now, but wants us to keep an eye on it until the surgery (she's also a nerve specialist and saved my daughter's teammate's hand). We didn't take an MRI because she said with the severity of the dislocation, everything is probably looking crazy right now anyway. She'll see everything during surgery.
One thing we did was take more X-rays because she couldn't see the fractured bone in the images we gave her. She thought maybe the ER realigned her severely dislocated elbow poorly and left the fractured piece INSIDE her joint
, which would make this case a more urgent once. Thank goodness the new X-rays showed that the ER did a good job with the realignment. phew.
My daughter asked about recovery time after the surgery. Doctor said 3 months, which sounds super short to me. Maybe I misheard. She'll be in a cast for a few weeks (3?), and then a brace to start moving her arm as soon as possible to start PT.
We called our gym on our way home to let them know. They said when she gets an 'ok' from her doctor to do simple/modified leg conditioning, they'll have things for her to do. They don't want her back until she gets cleared to do that stuff, though, and I'm not going to rush it for sure, but when the doctor clears her to do any leg work and stretching, my daughter will be so happy to go for even just a little bit at a time.
She is really scared about the surgery, but knows it's really her only option to go back to doing what she loves. She's optimistic and looking forward to putting in the work to get back to 100%. She knows it won't be a quick process, but a journey. And I'll be with her every step of the way.
So, we have a plan. Now we wait for surgery day.
Thank you all again for your replies. I truly never thought I would feel comforted by people I don't know and wrote the original post out of desperation. I'm grateful for this forum <3