Back on the Water

Dr. Lowry and Kyle’s story

Kyle McLaughlin might be the only Wisconsinite who didn’t mind the longer-than-normal winter we had. It’s not that he wasn’t looking forward to warmer weather; in fact, he was more excited for summer than ever before. He had surgery on his left shoulder in December 2013 due to chronic dislocation and needed the time to recuperate before getting behind a boat again.

The 29-year-old is an avid wakeboarder and bounces from lake to lake in the Northwoods throughout the summer. He also works for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, so you could say most of his life revolves around water – both personally and professionally.

While wakeboarding in 2010, Kyle suffered the first of many shoulder dislocations, which almost always resulted in a trip to the hospital.

“If I would dislocate my shoulder in May or June, I’d end up in a sling for a month or more and lost time on the lake, which is what I live for,” he says. “I’d live in fear for the next thing that would knock it out of place, or fear of missing out on being on the water.”

Not only was it an inconvenience, but it was also painful. He made an appointment with Dr. Kent Jason Lowry, an orthopedic and sports medicine surgeon at Ministry’s Northland Orthopedic and Sports Medicine who also repaired an ACL injury Kyle had in 2003. Together, they exhausted all non-surgical options. When that didn’t work, he opted for surgery last December.

Throughout the winter, he worked hard to regain strength and range of motion in his shoulder – as well as the courage to wakeboard again.

“You want to have confidence that you’re able to use your arms as you intend to, and when that doesn’t play through, it makes you second guess what you should be doing,” he says. “I’m not ready to live a sedentary lifestyle.”

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