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Finding the “Strength” to Overcome Injury – JJ’s Comeback Story

Injury is both a physical and mental struggle and no one understands this more than J.J. Gums.  His strength throughout his rehabilitation journey has been inspirational for not only our staff but for other patients at Omaha Physical Therapy Institute.  Check out J.J.’s comeback story below!

What was your injury? 

Patella tendon rupture (with a surgical repair).

How did you injure yourself?

I was playing a game of pickup basketball after a long (several year) layoff from the game– I stepped wrong and my knee just crumbled.

What was the most challenging aspect to your recovery?

The most challenging aspect was the mental game.  I’m a very active person and exercise is like therapy for me.  I was able to continue to exercise around my injury, which makes me very thankful that it wasn’t a worse injury.  But it was a mental challenge to have restrictions.  I was used to pushing my body to the limit and having these new limitations was a shock to my system.  It was very humbling.

 What did you learn from your experience in physical therapy?

I always knew physical therapy was an important piece of recovery but I didn’t realize how crucial it was until after my surgery.  I figured after surgery I would just be able to “will” myself to have full function of my knee – like immediately.  I remember being asked to do a straight leg raise about 10 days after surgery and thinking to myself, “no problem!”  But my leg wouldn’t budge.  It was the hardest lift I’d ever done in my life.

Then came the range of motion, which I also thought would be a cake walk… But I had to fight for every degree of motion. It’s been 9 months and I’m still doing physical therapy and still pushing myself daily to get more range of motion.

What did you enjoy most about OPTI?

I love the people at OPTI.  Not only as individuals, but as a group.  I love showing up to PT and knowing everyone there and experiencing the dynamic.  It’s all open, so the other people working on their rehab are working next to you – it feels like a team.  And that, to me, is motivational.

What advice would you give someone that is recovering from an injury?

Be patient, but work hard.  You have to put in the work with therapy but you have to know when to rest and be patient as well.  It’s an interesting combo (and it might sound like opposites) – like Yin and Yang, but both are necessary.

What have you accomplished since coming back from your injury?

I have been able to get back to doing what I love, which is bodybuilding.  I have definitely lost some weight since my injury as I temporarily switched gears after getting injured.  But I am back to squatting, which I honestly wasn’t sure if I would be able to do again.  I’ve even been able to do some running (up to 5 miles) and did some fairly intense hiking in Sedona, Arizona (Cathedral Rock Trail was pretty intense).

What activities/hobbies/jobs do you enjoy/have?

I love bodybuilding but I also enjoy going for walks with my wife and daughter (and mini schnauzer) daily.  I also enjoy hiking trails when I get a chance.  My occupation is an internal medicine physician which keeps me pretty busy.

What an awesome comeback story!  And he is not even done yet!  We look forward to all of the awesome things J.J. can accomplish despite the severe injury he has had to overcome!   Thanks for being so inspirational J.J.!

Your Comeback Story Starts Here!