Colton's Story

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Young Athlete Looks Forward to Playing College Football after Successful Shoulder Surgery

When multi-sport athlete Colton Ray was in eighth grade, he dislocated his shoulder during a wrestling match. The injury forced him to stop wrestling during an undefeated season and prevented him from accepting an invitation to play in an all-star football game in Myrtle Beach. Colton’s dad took him to an acclaimed shoulder specialist in the area who said Colton did not need surgery and that the injury would heal on its own.

During Colton's freshman high school football season, his shoulder continued to feel unstable and bothered him the entire season. He returned to the same shoulder specialist, and this time he recommended stem cell therapy.

When Colton suffered a minor knee meniscus injury during a freshman year track event, he was referred to Martin Leland, MD, sports medicine physician and shoulder specialist at UH Geauga Medical Center. During that consultation, Dr. Leland noticed Colton was favoring his right arm and asked, “What’s going on with your shoulder?” Colton explained that he was undergoing stem cell therapy for the shoulder injury and was still hopeful that it would be successful. Dr. Leland looked at the previous X-rays and MRI studies of the shoulder and predicted that, eventually, surgery would be necessary. Dr. Leland was able to repair Colton’s meniscus and he was back to running sprints again within a few weeks.

In his sophomore year, Colton dislocated his elbow during the final scrimmage before football season, sidelining him for nine weeks. By the last game of the season, his elbow had healed enough for him to play, but during that game he took an awkward fall, landing on his already unstable shoulder and aggravating the existing injury. The renewed pain limited his play for the remainder of that game and the playoff game the following week.

Ultimately, the stem cell therapy for his shoulder injury was unsuccessful and Colton’s pain and instability continued throughout his sophomore year. He couldn’t wrestle, throw shotput or discus – sports at which he had always excelled.

Within a week after sophomore football season ended, Colton and his father were back in Dr. Leland’s office to talk about his recurring shoulder problems.

Dr. Leland told Colton and his father that his shoulder problem was due to bone loss in the shoulder socket, leaving the joint susceptible to recurring dislocation. This explained why stem cell therapy hadn’t worked and why surgery was necessary. “I wasn’t crazy about having surgery, but I trusted Dr. Leland,” says Colton. Dr. Leland performed a “Latarjet” procedure on Colton, transferring a piece of bone from his shoulder blade to replace the lost bone in his shoulder socket. Following successful surgery, Colton began a regimen of physical therapy and strengthening exercises.

"I just finished my senior year football season and feel better than I have since 2014," says Colton. "Since the surgery I have been able to play 23 straight football games without pain and instability in my right shoulder and plan on increasing this streak next year while playing football at the collegiate level. Thanks, Dr. Leland, for getting me back in the game!”