Millions of people will gather around the television tonight to watch America’s Favorite Sport, as the NFL’s New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons go head-to-head in Super Bowl LI. And while the players gear up for the biggest game of their career – some with chronic aches and pains brought on by years on the turf – we’re left to wonder, what about life after the game?
As an orthopedic surgeon at Southern Joint Replacement Institute (SJRI) on the campus of TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, many of the patients we see are former or current athletes. Football is a popular sport in Tennessee and the South. It is common to see patients in our clinic who have played football at some level while growing up, many of whom have sustained injuries.
All athletes experience some form of wear and tear on their bodies, but none more than football players, who are engaged in a high-speed, collision sport. The tackling, blocking, and quick change of direction on the field predisposes them to knee injuries – the most common joint affected in football – followed by shoulder injuries.
Take Mr. Dick Ambrose, for example, a former NFL linebacker for the Cleveland Browns and current SJRI patient. He came to us with knee and shoulder pain. He had arthritis brought on by injuries sustained throughout his football career. We were able to replace his shoulder and ultimately, “give him his life back,” a sentiment echoed by many of our patients.
I have the greatest job in the world, largely because of how successful shoulder, knee and hip joint replacement can be and the amount of relief our patients experience. Mr. Ambrose, who now serves as a Judge, and many of the people who visit our clinic have a better quality of life that allows them to remain as active as possible.
Injury, wear and tear, or age, may derail any athletes’ career, but it doesn’t have to stop their quality of life. At TriStar SJRI, we can help.
Watch Mr. Dick Ambrose’s story and his life after football:
TriStar Centennial Medical Center, an affiliate of HCA, is located in Nashville, Tenn.