Patient Stories

Patient Has Success with Partial Shoulder Replacement (HemiCAP)

We’d like to introduce you to our newest Shoulder HemiCAP Patient Testimonial, David Kull. He shares his journey below:

“Since early childhood, sports have been, and continue to be, a big part of my life. I played baseball and football in high school in San Jose, Calif., and one year of football at the University of California, Davis. I have worked as a sports journalist since 1989 — the past 21 years at ESPN. For 11 of those years, I coordinated coverage of Major League Baseball for ESPN Digital Media. A year ago, however, my job changed, and I now run the editorial team that handles personalization for Digital and Print Media.
When my oldest son, Kyle, reached high school at The Master’s School, a small, private Christian school in West Simsbury, CT, the school didn’t have a high school baseball team, and baseball was his main sport. So with the full support of the school’s athletic director, I started the high school program there in 2006. I coached the varsity team for four years and threw batting practice to my players nearly every day without any hint of a shoulder problem. Within two years, though, my shoulder began throbbing when I slept at night. At the same time, it didn’t help that I was following a Crossfit-like training program that placed a lot of stress on my shoulder.
I soon made an appointment with my physician, who referred me to a local shoulder surgeon, Dr. Clinton Jambor. He initially had me try physical therapy, but after about six months the PT had little impact. Although my MRIs failed to show anything significantly wrong with the shoulder, Dr. Jambor performed arthroscopic surgery and found that osteoarthritis had eaten away all my cartilage. For more advanced treatment, he then referred me to Dr. Gus Mazzocca, who wanted to start me off with a PRP injection. It helped ease the pain for a few months, but then the pain returned. He gave me a second PRP injection that made less of a difference than the first.

At this point I was concerned; as a gift for my 50th birthday, I was scheduled to go to my first Oakland A’s fantasy baseball camp in January of 2016, and my aching shoulder made it too painful for me to throw a baseball. A few weeks before fantasy camp, Dr. Mazzocca gave me a third PRP injection. We also discussed my options in case the injection didn’t work, and I scheduled an appointment after my return from camp. I ended up pitching three innings at camp, but I was practically wincing with every pitch. It was obvious the last injection offered no relief. When I met with Dr. Mazzocca again after camp, I decided to schedule the Shoulder HemiCAP Surgery because it was the more conservative surgical approach and I could always get a total shoulder replacement later if the partial replacement was ineffective.

I underwent surgery on March 23, 2016, and began physical therapy within a week after the procedure. I was eager to do everything my physical therapist told me to do, both during my twice-weekly appointments and on my own, because I was determined to return to fantasy camp the next year and pitch with little hindrance or pain. I followed the stretching and strengthening exercises religiously, but I apparently developed some scar tissue that was causing me some irritation.
Nevertheless, I began to do some light throwing in September. I threw 30 balls into a net 30 feet away at about 50 percent effort three times a week and then slowly built up the volume, the distance and the intensity each week. By early December, I was throwing off a mound at an indoor baseball facility three times a week. I was also hitting regularly and following a rigorous workout routine that didn’t tax my shoulder. I was still experiencing pain in my shoulder a month before leaving for camp, so I went back to Dr. Mazzocca’s office and received a cortisone shot. It didn’t help.

Regardless, when I went back to camp in mid-January, I was adamant that my shoulder wouldn’t slow me down. I had a notebook in which I wrote down goals each day. One of them was, “performance over pain.” While I still felt some pain in the shoulder and I couldn’t throw nearly as hard as I would like, the shoulder was in far better condition than it was the year before. I was able to pitch 11 innings over a five-day span. I gave up four runs in one inning, but I never gave up a run in any of the other 10 innings. Three of those innings came in the championship game, which my team won 11-3. After that game, I then won the camp’s Home Run Derby, and I was later named camp MVP at the awards banquet.

I was pleased with how well my shoulder had responded and enabled me to play at a higher level than the year before. Now, I’m determined to return to camp again next January. Right now my shoulder is at about 75 percent, and I still experience some discomfort. But I’m working hard every day to continue improving the flexibility and strength of the shoulder. I’m also planning to try other physical challenges, such as a Tough Mudder, before the end of the 2017.”
For more information on how the Shoulder HemiCAP or OVO Stemless Total Shoulder Systems could be right for you, Click here!
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