Growing up, I always wanted to be a professional athlete. I thought I would play football in college, but then work and life got in the way, as they have a way of doing. As an adult, I continued to dream about pursuing athletics, but pain and injuries in my back, knees, and shoulders kept me from competing at a higher level.  After having both of my shoulders repaired, one by Dr. Hinz and one by Dr. Jacobson, I discovered I was able to start doing some of the activities I always wanted to do.

I started participating in high intensity group workout classes until knee and back pain led me to seek treatment. I couldn’t run on the treadmill or even do a simple jumping jack without pain. Dr. Nelson said that I shouldn’t be running or doing anything that involved even the slightest impact, and that I needed to modify my workouts. At the time I was very disappointed, but that led me to discover competitive indoor rowing. After rowing for a few months, my times were really competitive in my division. I was really nervous to tell Dr. Nelson about my new passion because I thought he was going to tell me to stop, but he was very supportive. With his care, in addition to incorporating stretching and pilates in my training regimen, my back feels great. I know I am going to need a knee replacement eventually, but Dr. Nelson said that I wasn’t doing my knee any further damage, as long as I could tolerate the pain. That was a turning point for me and I started to train in earnest with a goal of going to the Paris World Championship in 2020. I finished that season with world rankings in my class of 6th in the 500 meter (first in the United States), 12th in the 1000 meter (second in the United States), and 22nd in the 2000 meter (3rd in the United States).

At the Paris World Championships, my first event was the 500 meter sprint. I was ranked #3 in my class going into the event, but managed to hold off the current British, Irish and European champion by a tenth of a second, for a 2nd place finish behind another great rower from the UK. My second event, the 2000 meter, didn’t go as well. Now, I need to decide if I can take another year of training and try to redeem myself next season, or move forward with procedures to get some replacement parts and look forward to coming back in 2022. In either case, I have lived out a lifetime dream of competing at the world championship level and have a medal to show for it. It’s a pretty incredible feeling.