Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Don’t Let Pain Take You Out of the Game


A minimally invasive procedure from Quad-City surgeon led to a fast recovery for local athlete.

When shoulder pain was preventing Bettendorf High School quarterback Cyle Cox from staying in the game, he turned to Dr. John Hoffman, a fellowship trained sports medicine surgeon with Orthopaedic Specialists. Dr. John Hoffman got him back to a winning football career with minimally invasive shoulder and bicep surgery that restored movement and provided a speedy recovery. Cyle is ready to play college ball this fall.

This fall, all-around athlete Cyle Cox is on his way to the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL, to play football for the Fighting Saints – the culmination of a dream that started when he was eight years old.

“My dad always told me that if you have a God-given gift, use it. Football has been in my blood as long as I can remember, “
said Cyle.

As a starting quarterback and MVP for Bettendorf High School, Cyle was no stranger to hard work. However, during his junior year, the left-handed quarterback began having pain in his shoulder and reduced movement in his throwing arm. Suddenly, his football career seemed uncertain. When he was unable to even throw the football properly, it was time to get help.

Finding the Right Solution
For Cyle, the answer was Dr. John Hoffman of Orthopaedic Specialists, who is also the orthopedic physician for Bettendorf High School.

“I went to Dr. Hoffman first because all my coaches and trainers said he was the best,” Cyle said. “He’s on the sidelines every Friday at our games. Just like us, he’s in it to win it!”

Dr. Hoffman ordered an MRI, which revealed a superior labral tear, commonly known as SLAP lesion in sports medicine. A SLAP lesion is an injury to the cartilage that covers the top of part of the shoulder. SLAP lesions usually cause pain in the front and top of the shoulder and may be associated with clicking or catching in the shoulder. Overhead activities such as throwing, lifting weights or swimming can aggravate these symptoms. The onset of the symptoms can be gradual, but can also occur during a single event.

Minimally Invasive Solution: Less Pain and Faster Recovery

A shoulder arthroscopy with biceps tenodesis and debridement (removal of dead or damaged tissue) was recommended as a minimally invasive method to get rid of Cyle’s pain. By detaching the biceps tendon from the labrum (a lip-like piece of cartilage that deepens the socket of the shoulder joint), the tension and pain were relieved. The tendon was then anchored to the bone in the arm that runs from the shoulder to the elbow known as the humerus.

“During surgery, small incisions are made through an arthroscope—a small video camera—which is inserted into your shoulder joint. This allows us to view the surgery on a monitor. Special instrumentation is used to suture the biceps tendon to the new location. This technique results in smaller incisions, less scarring, less pain, and faster recovery than for the more traditional, open surgical procedure,” Dr. Hoffman said.

Playing to Win: Living Pain-Free

Cyle’s procedure was done at an outpatient surgery facility. Two days later, he was starting his physical therapy. He credits Dr. Hoffman, as well as his physical therapist, Kevin Swanson

“I could have stopped playing the sport I love, but with the help of Dr. Hoffman and a lot of talented people, I’m playing college football,” Cyle said. “Real success is pushing through adversity. Never take your body or athletic abilities for granted. Have faith and push for what you believe in.”

With their team captain at full strength, the Bettendorf Bulldogs went on to win the state semi-finals during Cyle’s senior year.

What to Do If You Suffer From Pain or Reduced Movement in the Shoulder
Those who suffer from pain and reduced movement in the shoulder should consider the following:

  • Track your symptoms and activities. Keep notes on what symptoms you experience, how long they last, and what types of tasks or activities you were doing at the time. Note repetitive tasks in particular. Your healthcare provider will find this information useful during diagnosis.
  • Explore the possibilities. When over the counter treatment doesn’t work, consult a doctor. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you’re not satisfied with an initial diagnosis. Remember to ask about minimally invasive options.
  • Don’t wait. Above all, do not wait to get your symptoms treated if they are interfering with your daily routine, or preventing you from completing tasks. New surgical techniques can get you back to the life you love faster.

To learn more about Orthopaedic Specialists, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hoffman, visit osquadcities.com or call 563-344-9292.

Photos Courtesy of Orthopaedic Specialists