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Forty-two-year old Pittsburgh native, Terry Hammons, is a former star college football player. He was in training for the SuperFit SteelFit competition when he hurt his hip doing barbell lunges. Fortunately Coordinated Health orthopedic surgeon, Scott Sauer trained at the same gym.
Terry has been an athlete since he was in first grade and by the end of high school his football career landed him a college scholarship. After that he went to law school and drifted away from sports. He tried to stay fit but his law career and family consumed his life. Seeing how out of shape he appeared in a vacation video six years ago was a wake up call.
“I saw the footage, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I don’t have a chest anymore!’”
He decided to get serious about fitness again. And after his wife gave him a Groupon for CrossFit in Lehigh Valley he was hooked.
“You train as a team,” he says. “ The high intensity is very much like college football. There are a lot of former athletes.”
He loved it so much he became co-owner of the CrossFit affiliate where he trained. Then one night about a year ago while training for the SuperFit SteelFit elite competition, he felt a pop in his right hip while doing barbell lunges. The next morning he could hardly move. It was so painful he had trouble working, let alone training.
“I was devastated,” he says.
Orthopedic surgeon, Scott Sauer, was a regular at the gym. In fact, Terry coached him at the 6 a.m. class, so the next time he saw the doctor, he asked for a consultation.
“I saw him in the office that same day,” Dr. Sauer recalls.
The diagnosis: muscle strain. He was prescribed rehab and physical therapy.
“Rehab is a process. I understood that,” Terry says. “For me, the PT was like working out. I’d be given different exercises at each visit that I’d take back to the gym.”
“Anyone who does CrossFit will tell you there’s nothing
worse than taking a day off!”
“He was pain free within weeks and back to training very quickly. It’s a testament to his training because he was in such excellent shape at the time of his injury.”
Dr. Sauer met Terry about two years ago when he was a novice CrossFitter and had just started training at Terry’s gym.
“Terry was an exceptional example for everyone else at the gym,” Dr. Sauer says. “He’s in incredible shape, and could knock out all the complex CrossFit moves like they were nothing.”
Terry consulted Dr. Sauer shortly after he injured his hip. X-rays revealed no fractures, and the exam was consistent with muscle strain.
“The hip joint is surrounded by many muscles and tendons,” Dr. Sauer says. “Muscle strain is a very common injury in the movement and stretching of the area.”
Dr. Sauer devised a treatment regimen that called for an initial modification of activity, the use of anti-inflammatories and ice followed by physical therapy to strengthen the hip muscles.
Terry’s prognosis was good. Dr. Sauer was confident that an elite athlete with a high level of fitness like Terry’s would have a speedy recovery.
“Terry went through a six week course of therapy at Coordinated Health,” Dr. Sauer says. “He progressed very quickly and was able to resume his normal activities of daily living as well as his extensive CrossFit training.”
When Terry’s treatment was complete he said: “I feel more fit now than when I played college football.”
Terry and Markus Riggleman have been co-owners of the CrossFit Lehigh Valley gym for two years. They are avid proponents of the CrossFit philosophy, which aims to provide general physical preparedness in everyday living through a high intensity, highly varied full-body workout that combines cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics and core training.
“We do out of the box training,” Markus says. “It’s not the stuff you see in a commercial gym.”
Markus had a hard time watching Terry sidelined by his injury.
“He was training for a competition,” Markus says. “So to see him down was difficult for all of us at the gym.”
But he was pleasantly surprised by Terry’s swift comeback, and credits Coordinated Health’s treatment with his recovery.
“Having Dr. Sauer as a gym member is a real plus,” he says. “As a CrossFitter himself, he can easily identify with our injuries and movements. The services that Dr. Sauer and CH provide help us stay prepared.”
“Terry is a warrior!”
“Injuries are often a result of an imbalance in surrounding muscles and joints,”
Physical therapist Mike Price specializes in the care of elite athletes, so when he saw the notes left by Terry’s previous therapist, he agreed with his course of treatment.
“With a hip strain, it’s imperative to let the area calm down from the initial injury,” Mike says. “After that, you must restore a normal range of motion and tissue length.”
Terry’s strong self-motivating ethos helped speed his recovery along quickly. He approached his rehabilitation with the same drive and intensity as his workouts, progressing through each level of difficulty quickly. His goal to return to his normal flexibility and strength was critical to getting back into preparation for his CrossFit competition.
Terry’s hip strengthening regimen included standing hip abductor exercises using resistance bands, as well as a hip and glute exercise affectionately known in PT as “the clamshell.” The clamshell exercise requires a patient to lie on his/her side with knees together and slightly bent. The patient then opens their knees apart and closes them repeatedly, working both the inner thighs and glutes.
“Injuries are often a result of an imbalance in surrounding muscles and joints,” Mike says. “These strengthening exercises are important for building back to athletic activity.”