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How One Weightlifter Got Back in the Game


WRITTEN BY: Sports Medicine
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Mike has been a competitive weightlifter for the majority of his life. Growing up in Pittsburgh, he won several major competitions, including a junior national championship in 2011.

After college Mike competed professionally in Colorado Springs, Colorado when he injured his shoulder. After seeking local medical attention, Mike received a cortisone shot and continued training. While this treatment allowed him go on, his injury did not heal and continued to bother him.

After moving back home to Pittsburgh to continue training, Mike sought treatment from Albert Lin, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at UPMC Sports Medicine. Dr. Lin evaluated Mike and diagnosed him with a rotator cuff injury and recommended surgery. Before surgery Dr. Lin included UPMC Centers for Rehab Services physical therapist Heather Christain, DPT, in the evaluation so that as soon as he was ready Mike could start his rehabilitation.

After a successful surgery, Mike started attending physical therapy with Heather at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. During his first visit, he and Heather went through the movements needed to return to weightlifting, tailoring his rehabilitation to focus on those areas.

“Mike’s excellent outcome and return as an Olympic [style] weightlifter was truly a team effort. In addition to a successful surgery, Mike’s dedication to the rehabilitation, his overall positive attitude, and Heather’s careful tailoring of a personal regimen that would be compliant with our postoperative restrictions were equally important in bringing him back to elite form from a potentially devastating injury,” Dr. Lin said.

“It was a privilege seeing him all the way through to his complete comeback.”

With the sport’s aggressive overhead lifts, weightlifting requires a greater range of motion compared to other sports

“Mobility and stability are also important to a weightlifter’s performance, so Heather customized my exercises to help me focus on those areas,” Mike said.

After approximately four months, Mike was feeling good and was cleared to return to training. He is now pain-free and back to competitive weightlifting.

Sports Medicine

UPMC Sports Medicine is the region’s largest and most experienced center dedicated to caring for athletes of all levels. For more than 25 years of world-class care, we’re proud to offer more services, have more physicians, and treat more student athletes than any other sports medicine provider in the region. Read More