Throughout my life, I always had this dream of becoming a part of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), and being able to turn my hobby into something bigger. As the years passed though, I found my dream slipping away, with all my efforts focused on raising a family.
In the summer of 1992 I was finally able to chase my dream. At the age of 50 I joined the Senior PBA, bowling with all the professionals that I had once only been able to watch on television. For me it was kind of like a fantasy baseball camp. My skills were increasing and in no time I was bowling against Hall of Famers, becoming quite successful. My wife, Jackie, and I traveled to all parts of the country for the next 14 years, until I began to have arthritic knee problems. As the problem worsened it became impossible to bowl any longer.
In 2007, I finally decided that if I wanted to continue to do what I loved so much something needed to be done about my knee. I had previously met Dr. Fred Redfern (Diplomat of American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery – Certified in Sports Medicine) in Henderson, Nevada. After a couple visits with him I was hit with the sad truth that in order to keep my dream alive I needed a total knee replacement. Dr. Redfern explained that this was a very painful operation, but if I put the same amount of effort into the rehab process that I did into my bowling then I would be able to return to the lanes and continue my career. After a couple months into the rehab process I was able to start bowling again, doing a little bit each week. It took many, many weeks of intensive retraining and practicing, but after 10 months I was ready to get back to the tour.
Being back on the Senior PBA tour post surgery was incredible. With absolutely no pain in my knee I actually became a better bowler than prior to the operation. In 2008 with league average of 242, I held the title for highest senior average in the state of Nevada and kept said title for a consecutive year with an average score of 241. I was back in business, bowling some of my best tournaments, including the Senior High Roller Tournaments of 2010 and 2012, where I won both tournaments. I won Mixed and Mens Doubles Gold Medals in the 2012 International Seniors Tournament. I can proudly say that I am 73 years old and am still competing on the tournament circuit today, with my league average score at 240 this past year.
Due to my hard earned successes, I will be inducted into the Southern Nevada Bowling Hall of Fame this October. I feel that these past 8 years are a testament as to what replacement surgery can do to further a person’s active, healthy, lifestyle. I cannot thank Dr. Redfern enough for all he has done for me. Each year I return for X-rays and each year Dr. Redfern happily exclaims that my replacement is looking as good as new.
I hope my story will help encourage anyone who has advanced arthritic knee problems like I had to seek out help through replacement surgery. To anyone who is wary, I promise you this “the risk is well worth the reward”.