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Old     (andy_nintzel)      Join Date: Sep 2004 Location: Minnesnowda       01-24-2008, 11:26 AM Reply   
So I have never brought this up on Wakeworld before, I dont really know why, maybe becuase people seem to freak out when they see my scare and cannot believe I can walk let alone wakeboard like I do.

I had spinal fusion from my L1 to T1 vertebra, I had the surgery to correct 2 crushed disks as well as fix a back disease called Kyphosis. Kyphosis is basically scoliosis but you back curves forward (basically it turns you into a hunch back. The surgery basically made my spine into a fixed bone like a femur, I cannot slouch or arch my back at all, perfect posture 24/7 they fixed 2 rods on either side of my spine and shaved bone off my right hip which was used in a bone graph to make my spine one continuous bone. Since the surgery I have never once injured my back, spine, or neck wakeboarding aside from the typical aches and pains. And I still can ride at a Pro Level, the only thing that I cannot do is a straight up regular raleys, that motion makes my back arch like crazy and hurts like hell considering its fixed in place, all other glides are cool tho.

Just wondering if any of my other fellow wakeworlders have had any issues like that and still ride. The road to recovery was long but that first set after a year off was probably the best day of my life! I am the poster boy for Minnesota Spin Clinic now.

I have some pictures of the surgery they are rather graphic, I will try and upload some X-rays soon.
Old     (dukeno1)      Join Date: May 2006       01-24-2008, 11:28 AM Reply   

How did you injure your back?
Old     (jtnz)      Join Date: Sep 2007       01-24-2008, 3:13 PM Reply   
Never had back/spine surgery but I've got a displaced vertebra (L4 or 5, I'm not sure exactly) I got knocked on my ass playing Aussie Rules when I was 15 and it's been out of alignment ever since.

I think wakeboarding is actually quite good for it, deep water starts seem to stretch it out nicely. Never seems to hurt as much after riding.

Basically the only options I have are fusion or live with it. My physio was against me having fusion surgery since it probably wouldn't be worth doing in terms of pain, recovery, less range of motion vs. the benefits that I might have gotten out of it.

I've been to a couple of different people for manipulation and stuff but it doesn't really seem to help.

(Message edited by jtnz on January 24, 2008)

(Message edited by jtnz on January 24, 2008)
Old     (etakk7)      Join Date: Apr 2006       01-24-2008, 4:09 PM Reply   
i had a discectomy at L5-S1 last February. I took it pretty easy this past year though just jumping W2W, so I can't say how it will affect me in the long run.
Old     (andy_nintzel)      Join Date: Sep 2004 Location: Minnesnowda       01-24-2008, 4:41 PM Reply   
I crushed the disks ski racing. Yes there was a time in my youth when I was a two planker. Actually I raced on the US Developmental team. It happened when I was at the Jr. Olympics in Colorado. I donít remember any of what happened that day or that week really, but what they tell me is I was practicing on the Downhill course (for those of you who donít know much about ski racing thatís the race where you basically bomb the hill in a tuck and reach speeds in upper 70s mph) and there was a Ski Coach from a different team who didnít have a radio trying to fix a gate in the course, he had no idea I was on course.
Old     (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-24-2008, 8:01 PM Reply   
Andy...I am impressed. I help put that hardware in people so I know what it entails. I had a discectomy in 1997..not sure I would do it again... and have to get steroid injections every 3 months....I tell my doc just keep me riding. But riding with a completely fused with hardware thoracic I will have to tell my pain doc about you....he is impressed with me and I am nothing compared to you. RIDE ON!!!!
Old     (burban89)      Join Date: Nov 2006       01-25-2008, 4:59 AM Reply   
I have to 2 partial disc in the center of my back. Sorry I forget the medical term for what area it is. They went in and cleaned out the mess and and left me with 2 partials. They said I was to young for metal. I also had a pinched nerve to my leg they cleaned up around. I worked really hard labor for about 4 years starting at age 17. I had surgery when I was 21 years old. Been wakeboarding for about 2 years now and havent had any issues. I have taken some nasty falls.
Old     (andy_nintzel)      Join Date: Sep 2004 Location: Minnesnowda       01-25-2008, 7:25 AM Reply   
SoCal, you a work as a surgical RN? Thatís rad. I actually get a lot of calls from people who are getting the surgery asking what life is like after the surgery. Lots little kids, makes me feel good to help them out, in the past I have actually gone into the hospital to visit them after surgery. Those first couple of weeks after are super hard and depressing, feels like you will never be the same. When you walk into the Minnesota Spine Clinic there is a poster of me wakeboarding that says, "Andy Nintzel, spinal fusion patient, Extreme sports Athlete."

To put L1 to t1 vertebra into prespective that is about a 14 inch area of my back.
Old     (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-25-2008, 7:37 AM Reply   
Andy...for 23 years now!!! And ortho/neuro is my favorite. I am very good with saws and drills around the house as a result of it
I love my job. I would like a copy of the poster if possible. That is so awesome. It just shows you what mental strength and mind over matter can do.
Old     (andy_nintzel)      Join Date: Sep 2004 Location: Minnesnowda       01-25-2008, 7:39 AM Reply   
I will see if I can get one for you, if anything I can take it to kinkos and have them make a poster quality print.

I didnt even know they were doing it, I walked in one day for a check up and it was hanging on the wall. I was like, damn where did that come from?
Old     (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-25-2008, 7:43 AM Reply   
that is so cool!!!! Maybe take a picture of it and print it off.

(Message edited by rnopr8 on January 25, 2008)
Old     (romes)      Join Date: Sep 2006       01-25-2008, 7:53 AM Reply   
thats pretty gnarly andy...

knock on wood i've only had minor lower back problems but not so much little brother on the other hand plays running back at Wofford College and he played all of last season with a broken back. i'm not sure exactly where or what vertebra he messes up but could you imagine playing a whole season with a jacked up back. the kid could barely sit down but saturdays he was out there runnin into ppl head on...

back issues are NO story andy
Old     (gene3x)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-25-2008, 9:07 AM Reply   
I worked as a surgical tech also and have been in surgical sales too. Much like SoCal I have see pretty much every surgical rotation and have also had 3 diskectomies and 1 Laminectomy. The best days of my life were after sugery when I could feel my legs again! I will eventually need a fusion or further surgery if I contimue to wakeboard. Even after all that surgery I still have a tingle in one leg so I have backed off from pushing myself further.... for Now. If I hit a big D-up and come down hard my back will hurt and my legs tingle more for about 2 days or so. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Old     (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-25-2008, 9:19 AM Reply   
For the sheer thrill and excitement wakeboarding brings
Old     (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       01-25-2008, 9:33 AM Reply   
Fractured my neck. 2 of my vertabras are permanently smashed together. Doctors are still unclear on whether it was my most recent crash on a dirt bike (head on collission with another bike), or a previous snowboaring, trampoline, or wake injury.

Anyway. I get the occassional pain and stiffness. I get less range of motion out of my neck, but that's about it.
Old     (shon_g)      Join Date: Apr 2007       01-25-2008, 10:19 AM Reply   
I crushed my #12, Were the ribs meet the spine trying a TS FS 720 this past year. Every morning when I get up it hurts like hell. It will loosen up throughout the day but I can always feel it. I can still ride at the same level and I dont feel it when Iam out there. Not sure if I will have surgury yet. Tryin PT first.
Old     (wannagowakin)      Join Date: Aug 2003       01-25-2008, 12:25 PM Reply   
I just recently shattered C7 into 4 pieces. Doc says I was a fraction of a millimeter from being a quadriplegic. Didn't need surgery but I'm in a halo for 3 months. Should be wakeboarding by this summer.
Old     (jonblarc7)      Join Date: Jul 2006       01-25-2008, 12:44 PM Reply   
Connor are you in the halo right now? I also broke C7 and T2 (I was riding a dirt bike and got throw head first in to a tree.) I spent 3 long months in a Halo and it sucked. My mom came up with a great way to wear a shirt under your halo I can explain if you want.
Old     (sdl39)      Join Date: Jan 2008       01-25-2008, 1:10 PM Reply   
Wow; a thread on WW just for me. I just had a level 2 Anterior Cervical Fusion back in December, and I just got out of the neck brace this week. Here's my story:

Took a spectacular faceplant from a simple W2W jump gone bad in April '05, and lost all feeling in both arms for about 2 minutes. After X-ray's & MRI's, all the docs would tell me is that I should quit wakeboarding. Friends told me to just skate instead, so that is all I have done ever since.

Fast forward to late '07, and I started having numbness in my right arm again. So I go & see a orthopedic specialist, and get new MRI's. I am then told that I have Cervial Spinal Stenosis, which means that the passage inside the vertebrae in my neck is too narrow. No room for spinal fluid, just corners of vertebrae against the cord. In addition, the images clearly show bruising & scarring on the cord, probably from the '05 wreck & subsequent lesser falls on the skate.

Doc went on to say that if I don't get the pressure off of the cord, then one more fall (or any good impact) could leave me paralyzed from the neck down. The surgery is done, but I still have the numbness in my arm. The neurosurgeon actually told me I could probably still ride, but all I should do is just stand on the board & hold on (don't do anything that could result in a fall). Of course, that pretty much takes away most of the fun.

So now I am completely lost as to how to move forward. Some folks say that if I take time to heal, I can eventually return to full-on riding. Others say the exact opposite, that I should sell my boat & take up golf. After all, I have a wife & 2 kids to think about, and it would be very selfish to take any risk at all. Still others say I should start wakesurfing instead. I have plenty of time to think it; I'll be taking all of '08 to recover & rehab. I'm having a very hard time accepting the idea of walking away from the wake scene completely.
Old     (astonestreet)      Join Date: Oct 2007       01-25-2008, 1:27 PM Reply   
Blair Barham actually fractured his in a freak Shower accident that involved baby oil and bunch of "magazines"..... (details are just to graphic to list) lol.. Seirously though. Blair is a good friend of mine and seeing him in that halo looked CRAZY... He did hook up with an EMT worker that carted his no-ridding butt to the hospital... Good luck with your injury Connor, Hopefully you will be back at it in no time!
Old     (gene3x)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-25-2008, 2:02 PM Reply   
Uhhh... Yeah. The threat of permanent paralyzation would keep me from the extreme sports arena for good. I hope things go well for both you guys from here on out.
Old     (jason_ssr)      Join Date: Apr 2001       01-25-2008, 2:14 PM Reply   
I shattered 2 vert in my lower back as a kid. The bits all fused together. I was always the kid who couldnt touch his toes. I couldnt bend over very far. I played college basketball and wakeboarded at a high level (well what was high level back then) for years after that.

However, I found the opposite to be true about raleys. I can really overload them, and since my back wont bend, I cant do the "scorpion".

I think it has been a blessing in disguise. Because of my limited flexibility, I had to match the ability of my peers in raw strength. So, I never had knee or back problems through all my activites. I was one of the highest jumpers on my college team, and my coach kept saying that if I could touch my toes I could add 10" to my vert (which was about 38" at the time). It wasnt til 2006 that I had my first surgery ever, and it was a minor scope of a meniscus.

My only regret is that with 4" of extra vertabrae I could have been 6'10"!!!!
Old     (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       01-25-2008, 2:19 PM Reply   
Sorry Scott. That sounds rough bro.
Old     (gene3x)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-25-2008, 2:29 PM Reply   
Jason.... 4 inches? hmmmm that seems a little far fetched that you could have been that much taller. Are you still hooping? I am starting to get back into it to get into shape and gain some core strength back. I still wanna get on the court with you to see how bad you can whip my ass.
Old     (jason_ssr)      Join Date: Apr 2001       01-25-2008, 2:37 PM Reply   
haha, yeah, its only a guess based on whats missing. probably optimistic. I havent played at all in a month. I have a big tournament in Childress coming in two weeks, but just found out I will have to work that weekend. So, I may go play the Fri and Sat games, then come back for work on Sun.

Im probably not any good anymore. Come take my paycheck from me. Im sure you will win, but bring your check too...ya a formality.
Old     (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-25-2008, 10:47 PM Reply   
Scott...I just say you heal up and see how you do. You will know if you can ride or not. In stenosis the nerve is being pinched by something, can be several different things causing it. Once they open up the space where the nerve runs,the nerve can "breathe" again. Sometimes you get full feeling back, sometimes not. And you may be that way for life. But even if you don't ride again, your family can enjoy the boat and you can enjoy coaching and pulling them. One of the ortho reps I work with is young and has total hips. He can't ride anymore but loves to take his girls and just bought a new Bu. Don't give can still have fun without riding (thought I would never say that)
Old     (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-25-2008, 10:54 PM Reply more thing....I am going to assume you have hardware in your neck. Back in the day we used to do neck fusions without hardware, just slip a piece of bone from the hip between the vertebre and let it fuse. But the bone could easily slip so they usually add plates & screws to keep it in place. Nerves are an absolutely amazing part of our body. If you sever one, the ends will do everything in their power to find each other and reconnect. I broke my leg several years ago...bad bad, break. I don't have any feeling on the top of my foot and can't flex my ankle. Just got used to it I guess. Anyway, heal up...and be safe.

(Message edited by rnopr8 on January 25, 2008)
Old            01-26-2008, 7:18 AM Reply   
I had L4 & L5 fused together around 1990 and have never had any far.
Old     (islamom)      Join Date: Jul 2005       01-26-2008, 7:46 AM Reply   
This thread came along at just the right time for me!

I have spinal stenosis caused by spondylolisthesis. (Fancy word for displaced vertebra.) I'm having an L5-S1 fusion and a microdiskectomy in 2 weeks. Doc says to stay off my board for 6 months. I'm not happy about it, but it's what I have to do. I'll check in and let everyone know how bad the recovery sucks!
Old            01-26-2008, 7:54 AM Reply   
Clarissa, I was told by my Dr. the best thing I could do after surgery was to walk as much as I could. It really fire's the lower back muscles.
Good luck.
Old     (sdl39)      Join Date: Jan 2008       01-26-2008, 8:03 AM Reply   
Thanks, C.I.E. & SoCal......

Yep, fusion at C3-4, and C4-5. Got the bone grafts from the bone bank (cadaver), so they didn't have to take a plug from my hip (yay). And yes, I have a nice titanium plate & a bunch of screws holding it all together.

Although I keep waffling on what to do, the most likely scenario is to keep the boat & just play it by ear. We just got my 8 year-old daughter up on a wakeskate this past summer, so it would be a shame to shut the whole thing down.
Old     (wannagowakin)      Join Date: Aug 2003       01-26-2008, 8:46 AM Reply   
Blair, yeah I'm in the halo right now. Got it on 4 weeks ago yesterday, so i'm anywhere from 6-8 weeks from getting it off. Yeah it was weird originally all my x-rays cleared except for one that showed a "slighty abnormality" so they were gonna send me home but they wanted to take a quick CT scan of my neck, and that ended up showing, extremely graphically, that my C7 was in about 4 pieces, I was put in traction over night and that ended up pulling the pieces back into virtually perfect alignment. For the sake of my long-term quality of life they put me in the halo so I wouldn't have to have metal in my neck for the rest of my life. But in regards to the shirt we just cut a T-shirt down a sleeve, slip it on like a dress and safety pin the sleeve. I'd love to hear your way it's probably better.
Old     (gene3x)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-26-2008, 9:38 AM Reply   
Good Luck with it Clarrisa. Will you be on the water this summer with us?
I guess we are no having our Raley competition?
Old     (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-26-2008, 10:10 AM Reply   
Clarrisa....before you go for the fusion, have they given you the option for disc replacement? It is like having a total joint replacement but for your back. It was on trial for5 years here but has been off trial for the past 3 years. Not many people know about it. They put a metal part on the bone above and below the disc, take out the disc and put in a polyethelene "disc". That way you keep mobility of that vertebral joint. I'm not sue if they do L5-S1 though. Might be something to look into if you haven't already.
Old     (jonblarc7)      Join Date: Jul 2006       01-28-2008, 6:28 AM Reply   
Connor my mom did kinda what you did just in a diffrent place. She split it down the front of the shirt just shy of the bottom of your halo then sewed on velcrow on both sides of the split nobody ever noticed and always asked how I got it on.

P.S. Are you tired of everybody asking if you take it off at night.

I would always give them a stupid look and sometimes a few choice word and say NO IT SCREWED INTO MY SKULL!!!
Old     (rnopr8)      Join Date: Apr 2005       01-28-2008, 7:19 AM Reply   
Blair...I would have told them that I have a screw loose in my head and the halo helps keep them in place.
Old     (jonblarc7)      Join Date: Jul 2006       01-28-2008, 7:57 AM Reply   
Thats pretty good!!!
Old     (andy_nintzel)      Join Date: Sep 2004 Location: Minnesnowda       01-28-2008, 9:22 AM Reply   

Lots of walking and jogging is in your future. All I could do is jog, I was like forrest Gump I ran so much. Good Luch let us know how the recovery is going!
Old     (wannagowakin)      Join Date: Aug 2003       01-28-2008, 12:47 PM Reply   
Blair, hell yeah man. People just do not get the fact that there's four screws going into your skull. The doc gave me an extra one for some reason and I think i'm gonna start carrying it around just to show people what the tip looks like. Haha, the best is when people don't even ask what happened and just ask if I take it off at night, then ask how I sleep in it. I just turn around and show them the bald spot on the back of my head that's continually growing.
Old     (jonblarc7)      Join Date: Jul 2006       01-29-2008, 6:44 AM Reply   
Connor, Just wait until you get it off it will be the weirdest feeling in the world. After you get it off when you turn your head just the smallest amount it will feel like your twisting it all the way around. Don't worry though it didn't hurt bad when they took the bolts out, My doctor did it so fast it was over before I knew it. Just don't make the damn mistake I did to the traning doctor (or what ever you call them). So I made a joke and said REMEMBER LEFTY LOSSEY RIGHTY TIGHY and she got nervous. Thought about it to much and went the wrong way with the bolts. Now that didn't feel good but at least she was drop dead gorgous. I still have my halo and used to keep it above my mirror on my dresser but now I'm going to make a little box frame to mount it on the wall just to remind me.
Old     (sam8)      Join Date: Dec 2004       01-29-2008, 7:31 AM Reply   
I have two artificial discs at L4-5 and L5-S1.
Advanced degenerative disc disease, in about 5 other discs.
Spinal stenosis, Chronic Facet joint arthritis, bone spurs, etc.
Playing football back in H.S., serious off-roading, all the fun stuff over my 49 year life and 25 years in law enforcement has destroyed my spine.
I drive the boat, but as others have said it would be very easy for me to wind up in a wheelchair, so I don't do most of the things I love anymore.
Take care of your body as best you can, gang.
You'd be amazed how quickly 49 arrives, and how crappy you can feel when it does if you play too hard.


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