Bill Plummer at Courtside



Bill at Courtside

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(Profiles: Bill Plummer continued)

Over many seasons, the cumulative impact of football tackles as well as racquet ball matches and other sports eventually affected Bill's joints. By the time he was in his mid 50's he was in a lot of pain. His wife and friends were concerned. They knew he needed help and he eventually consulted a doctor about his hip. "Everybody thought I was Groucho Marks ...the way I was walking around bent over."

His doctor informed him that 'running backs get it the worst because when they are tackled, their bent knees go into the ground, and the hip joints basically absorb that impact. Bill pondered the possible outcomes. He was worried about his future mobility, and he had real reason to be concerned. He decided to spend more time to look into it further.

A year went by, Bill knew he wasn't getting better, and he didn't want injections. He recalled the doctors words... 'you'll know when you're ready' (for surgery), and Bill knew he reached that point. "One day when I couldn't walk, I called the surgeon and said I was ready...". Dr. Nick Mihelic of the Hughston Clinic was his hip surgeon. He was one of the surgeons in Hilton Head that was certified by the Hughston Clinic to perform experimental offset hip replacement surgery. Bill was informed that he was qualified to receive a new type of experimental hip.

Then, at 52, Bill knew of few people that young that had gone through such a procedure. He was told that the manufactured hip available was the identical type that Bo Jackson received. The setting on Bill's hip would be different though. It was given a "stop" setting at 110 degrees. That particular stop setting was designed to provide him with the mobility he was accustomed to in the past.

No pun intended, but Bill's doctor was 'hip' to the fact that he was always a serious competitor and that he was now playing tennis. Knowing just how competitive he was, he laid it on the line. According to Bill, the doctor weighed in on his long-term chances by saying "I'm giving you a 20 year hip. If you go and play singles, it will make it a ten year hip". Well, let's just say Bill took that under advisement.

For two years prior he was in agonizing pain and the surgery changed Bill's life dramatically. He proclaims "One you have that surgery the pain is gone the next day". Regarding the decision to go through it, he simply put it, "The key to this is quality of life". Today, as from day one, he works to maintain that quality of life.

The same determination that Bill takes into tennis matches, he takes in to his maintenance routine. Each of his doctor-prescribed stretching routines takes 15 to 25 minutes per session, and most days there are four sessions. One early morning, one at bedtime, one before a workout or match and one after.

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