Lessons in Recovery

Clear Brook High School wrestler Patrick Spencer

Clear Brook High School wrestler Patrick Spencer

A torn tendon becomes young wrestler’s toughest challenge

Last year, Clear Brook High School wrestler Patrick Spencer was on the mat, fighting a tough opponent.

“When I attempted a grab, my arm got caught as his body was moving past mine,” he said. A shoulder shouldn’t bend that way.

Fearing the worst, Patrick and his family went to the emergency department at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital.

An MRI revealed a posterior labrum tear – potentially devastating news for Patrick’s wrestling pursuits. Dr. Shaun Holt, an orthopedic surgeon at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital, and his team repaired the injury without complication. “The healing time for this kind of injury is always going to be considerable, but with proper surgery and rehabilitation, recovery is possible,” Holt explained.

Dedication to Rehabilitation

Over the next six months, Patrick got to know Steve Tran, the head athletic trainer at Clear Brook High School, very well. “Resilience and perseverance are qualities that are needed on the mat during a match and during rehab in order to bounce back and overcome any injuries that may occur,” Tran said. “Patrick came to his postsurgical rehab ready and willing to work hard as he does every day, whether he’s on the mat practicing or at a meet.”

In addition to patient determination, proper physical therapy plays an important role in successful recovery. “Physical therapy has shown effectiveness in injury prevention and post-surgical rehabilitation to return our patients to their previous level of activity,” said Nadya Rawls, clinical manager and physical therapist at Houston Methodist St. John Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center.

Patrick says the entire injury and rehabilitation experience helped make him a better wrestler. “I can now protect myself from these kinds of injuries and I have found a higher level of competition,” he said. Patrick got back on the mat and, along with his teammates, competed at the District level.

After graduating from high school this June, summa cum laude, Patrick will attend Brigham Young University and major in computer science with an emphasis on animation. He’s still training and staying in shape, and looks toward future wrestling club competition while away at college.

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