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Real Patient: Shoulder Injury


I hurt my shoulder back in 2006 playing squadron football at Hurlburt Field. I was playing defense and went back, the quarterback went back to pass. The receiver was behind me, I was beat by about a step. The ball was slightly underthrown so I decided to dive for the, go for the football. And when I did that, I left my feet. Which was not a smart move. And I came hard on my right shoulder. Drilling my shoulder into the ground and my face and breaking my glasses.

My shoulder was stiff. And it was stiff for several days afterwards not knowing that I actually partially separated my shoulder doing that. And also causing bone spurs to develop on my collarbone. So I didn’t know the damage to that ‘til several years later.

When I first hurt my shoulder, I did not seek medical attention because I’m a tough guy and it would show a sign of weakness. And I just didn’t realize, I had no idea the extent of damage that I did to my shoulder. When I found out I had the problems I had, I was concerned whether surgery would fix them, or not fix them, or partially fix it.

Now, once I was explained by the doctor that I had arthritis, you can’t fix that. So part of my problem will never be fixed because of the arthritis that came in from 2006. The bone spurs they can fix and they can smooth it out. So, my shoulder is not perfect right now, and it never will be perfect. But I would say it’s at least 50 percent better if I had to put a number on it.

I still have some pain. I will always have some pain. And when you first start out, your range of motion’s horrible. And then when you get through this physical therapy, your range of motions may not be quite back to normal but it’s, it’s a heck of a lot better than what it was. Because when I lift up my arms and there’s certain things, I can feel a little bit of pain there. Sometimes it’s very sharp. So there’s still some healing process. I don’t know if it’s ever going to be 100 percent. Today I find myself using my left hand more than, more than my right hand. It’s been about two months since my surgery.

What I’m doing to help my shoulder out, because I’m not doing the rehab on base anymore. I’m finished with that. I go to the gym and work with the machines and stuff to try to strengthen the shoulder and the muscles around it. Because when they cut you, they’re cutting through tissue and to get to the bones. And you got to strengthen those muscles, and that’s why I’m using my left hand more than my right hand.

It’s important to see the doctor while you’re on active duty. And, for the VA purposes, later on, when people get out of the military, if they don’t properly document their military records, it’s not like it ever happened to you while you’re in the military. And it’s a huge red tape deal that people will have to go through if they don’t see the doctor, you know, when they have something wrong with them. Anything.

To adjust my situation, back in 2006 would have been a proper move on my part. For documentation purposes, for possible icing it down to do some therapy. Maybe I wouldn’t had the arthritis I have in my shoulder today if I would have seen it back in 2006.

All the crazy stuff that you do, whether it’s drinking alcohol, or eating improper food that a lot of people do, it all catches up to you when you get older. And you’ll realize that when you get older. But a lot of people they’re young, they feel like they’re bulletproof, and they are going to do whatever they’re to do and not listen to people’s advice.

So, I would take my advice and from an older guy that’s been through what you’ve been through and take care of your bodies. You have to do risk assessments on what you do in life. And the gain you get out of that versus what could happen to you if you do those type of things. We call it operational risk management in the military. And you have to do that with everything that you do in your life. What gains are you getting out of it? What bad things can happen to you if you do those types of things? So, as I get older I get a little bit wiser and try not to do the crazy things I used to do.