Every comeback is a journey, and nobody can do it alone
Every day there are amazing Twin Cities Orthopedics patients overcoming fears, pushing their limits, and coming back from injuries. Whether they’re an athlete trying to get back to competition, or an active adult trying to get their normal life back, the journey can be tough.
We’re honored to be surrounded by such a powerful community of people who overcome adversity, push themselves to new mental and physical limits, and – most importantly – lift up those around them.
We hope the amazing stories below will be an inspiration to anyone facing their own comeback journey. Scroll to view, or click to jump:
Every day there are amazing Twin Cities Orthopedics patients overcoming fears, pushing their limits, and coming back from injuries.
Whether they’re an athlete trying to get back to competition, or an active adult trying to get their normal life back, the journey can be tough.
We’re honored to be surrounded by such a powerful community of people who overcome adversity, push themselves to new mental and physical limits, and – most importantly – lift up those around them. We hope the amazing stories below will be an inspiration to anyone facing their own comeback journey.
Tim & Timmy, Type 1 Diabetics
Tim knew something wasn’t quite right when his son, Timmy, was just two years old. While playing baseball in the backyard, Timmy kept telling him he was thirsty. Tim, a diabetic since age 22, quickly tested his son for the disease, and the results were off the charts.
From then on, managing diabetes became the new normal for the father-son duo, but they didn’t let the disease slow them down. Baseball became a huge part of life. Tim proudly coached many of Timmy’s teams, and Timmy became a standout on the diamond. The memories they made together were unforgettable.
Life for Tim, however, would change drastically at 58 years old, when a sore on his foot from a golf shoe wouldn’t close. With limited options, Tim turned to TCO. As Joseph Nemanich, MD, entered the room, Tim asked, “Who are you?”
Dr. Nemanich confidently replied, “I’m the guy who’s going to save your life.”
With his trust in Dr. Nemanich, Tim elected for a lower leg amputation. Just four days later, he was back to work and was soon walking like he hadn’t lost a step. Feeling both happy and relieved, Tim’s life began to feel normal again. Then, the family was dealt another blow.
After taking a bad step in his garage, Timmy broke his heel, and it was clear the wound wasn’t going to recover. Like his father, Timmy would need an amputation, and to begin his own comeback journey.
With courage, determination, and guidance from his father and TCO, Timmy is beginning to make strides. Though it’s been a challenge at times, Tim and Timmy have been able to rely on each other through the ups and downs.
Tim likes to say, “There are no limitations,” and he and his son are proof. Timmy’s goal is to one day run the bases again, and there’s no doubt he’ll be an inspiration to others along the way.
Jeff, Retired US Postal Worker
From marathons to triathlons, Jeff spent his younger days as active as possible. Life would drastically change, though, after Jeff injured his back while helping a friend do some home repairs.
As a father, playing with his children became harder and harder and so did delivering mail for the US Postal Service. As years went by, the stiffness and pain kept getting worse, until eventually it was so bad, he was unable to function. Jeff couldn’t even get up on his tip-toes without crashing to the ground.
Finally fed up with the pain, Jeff scheduled a visit with TCO’s Paul J. Crowe, MD, who he had known for the past 30 years. In a direct but reassuring manner, Dr. Crowe told Jeff his condition was fixable, and that’s all Jeff had to hear.
After successful spinal decompression surgery at TCO, Jeff quickly realized things were improving. For the first time in decades, he could feel his toes again, and it kept getting better.
Jeff’s ultimate goal was to one day walk with his wife, pain-free, on the beach. It was a moment he’d been dreaming about since his days in the Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor. That dream, finally became a reality during Jeff’s recent family vacation.
“Had you seen my wife and I strolling arm-in-arm along the shore, you wouldn’t have thought it was anything special,” Jeff said. “But for me, it was an epic comeback for which I am deeply grateful.”
Without any more pain and discomfort, Jeff is back to enjoying the little things, during what he considers “a second chance at life.”
Paige, Softball Star
Sports are more than just a game for Paige. They’re her passion. From basketball to softball, this Rosemount standout has excelled at athletics ever since she was little. As the years went by, softball became more and more of a focus. In fact, her dream is to play Division I someday. That goal was in jeopardy, though, after an injury on the basketball court.
What seemed like a routine lay-up, quickly turned serious. As Paige came crashing to the floor, she instantly knew something was wrong with her knee. A trip to Twin Cities Orthopedics confirmed her worst fear: she had torn her ACL, and her softball career was put on hold.
For Paige, not being able to play the game she loved was difficult, but she was determined to make a comeback. After a successful surgery at TCO, Paige created a special bond with physical therapist Lukas Cash, PT, DPT, who helped keep her mind in the game.
The hard work then continued at Training HAUS (powered by TCO) where Paige put all of her energy into making a full recovery and pushed herself every day to make progress.
When Paige finally stepped back up to the plate for the first time, she was stronger than ever before. It wasn’t long until Paige was back to slugging home runs, and now, she’s back to chasing her dream of playing college softball at the highest level.
Connor Jo, Pro Football Player
From the joy of a touchdown, to the thrill of a big tackle, for Connor Jo, everything about playing professional football for the Minnesota Vixen was a dream come true. The wins were great. The camaraderie was better. But just four games into the season, a devastating injury nearly took it all away.
While going for a tackle, Connor Jo felt a pain she knew all too well. For the second time in her life, Connor Jo had torn her ACL. Was this the end of her career? Connor Jo contemplated the question as she thought of the road to recovery ahead, but a trip to TCO Orthopedic Urgent Care quickly changed her mind.
After a successful surgery at TCO, Connor Jo dedicated herself to making a full comeback and turned to Training HAUS to help get it done. Under the guidance of athletic trainer Chris Doney, MS, LAT, ATC, Connor Jo began moving better than ever before. The work wasn’t easy, but the payoff was worth it. With her confidence back, Connor Jo not only returned to the field fully healthy, she was also named a team captain.
Maria, Adventurous Mom
Meeting new people. Exploring new surroundings. Embracing new experiences. For Maria, life is all about the next adventure, and a dream trip to Asia had always been on the bucket list.
On the final day of her vacation, Maria set out into the jungles of Thailand for a picturesque hike. So beautiful, Maria pulled out her phone to take in the scenery as she made her way through the mountains. Then came a loud pop in her ankle. The pain was instant and intense, but there was no choice but to finish the hike. The journey though, was far from over.
Weeks after returning home, Maria’s ankle still hadn’t healed. After a visit to TCO, Maria learned surgery was needed. Nervous at first, a strong connection with Chris Coetzee, MD, Mb, ChB put her at ease, and the adventure back to full health began.
The road to recovery wasn’t always easy, but Maria dedicated herself to physical therapy. Thoughts of once again hiking and playing basketball with her family motivated this mother through the tough times. Now, she’s working her way back to being stronger than ever before, and looking ahead to her next adventure.
James, BMX Racer
It was a national BMX competition, and the stakes were high. James was fueled by adrenaline as he shot out of the gate, racing to an early lead. But then the unthinkable happened, and the packed crowd gasped as he crashed hard into the solid dirt track.
A lacerated spleen. Broken bones in his hand and arm. A concussion. The injuries left James in a bad way physically, but mentally, he was determined to get back on his bike as quickly as possible.
Needing both surgery and physical therapy, James turned to TCO for his recovery and dedicated himself to coming back better than ever. With trust in TCO’s plan, James worked his way back to full health.
What he did next – was nothing short of amazing. In his first race back, James pulled of a national win and is now chasing his dream of one day being an Olympian.
Savannah, 10-Year-Old Runner
A beautiful 4th of July on her family’s boat took a serious turn when 10-year-old Savannah fractured her ankle while wakesurfing.
Savannah developed a love for running as a participant in Girls on the Run Twin Cities, a local nonprofit and TCO partner dedicated to empowering girls to recognize and achieve their limitless potential. Not being able to run was devastating, but Savannah was determined to come back from her injury stronger than ever before.
From diagnosis at a TCO Orthopedic Urgent Care location, to physical therapy at Training HAUS (Powered by TCO) in Eagan, Savannah had a full care team supporting her recovery and getting her back on the pavement.
She developed a strong connection with physical therapists Michael Shirilla and Russell Linville, who guided her through a full recovery. With a positive attitude and lots of dedication, she was back running the Girls on the Run 5K just four months after her injury.
Mallory, Paralympic Swimmer
During her pursuit for another Paralympic gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic games, swimmer Mallory Weggemann severely injured her arm. For many athletes, it would have meant the end of a career, but Mallory’s not like most athletes.
Instead of giving up, she is working harder than ever to once again shatter expectations.
An Eagan native, Mallory discovered Training HAUS (Powered by TCO) in 2018 and quickly realized it had the resources she needed to forge her path to Tokyo. Under the guidance of physical therapist and sports performance coach Russell Linville, she finds creative new ways to blend traditional rehabilitation with strength and conditioning, all while being surrounded by likeminded athletes.
She approaches every day with fierce determination, focused on one singular goal: reclaiming her throne atop the podium at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.