Back to winning championships after Achilles tear
When Chris Whitlow ruptured his Achilles tendon playing Quarterback in a flag football game, he knew he would be sitting out the rest of the season. Unfortunately, that injury occurred in June 2018, during the first round of his league's playoffs. Without their QB, his team was not able to progress any further and their hopes of winning the Championship were dashed in a single play. While Chris's 2018 season was a bit of a letdown, he didn't dwell on it. Chris worked hard with his Physical Therapist at Resurgens Orthopaedics Rehabilitation and made a big recovery. He even went on to win the 2019 Championship for his league!
Flag football was more than just a hobby for Chris; it was a way for him to play the sport he loved at the level he wanted.In addition to playing in a local league in the Atlanta area, he also plays in a national traveling league that holds their Championship game each year in Chicago.
Playing as a Wide Receiver in High School, Chris found he was a bit shorter and lighter than most of the other players.As a result, he had difficulty progressing the way he wanted to and he stopped playing after graduation.During college, he began playing in an intramural flag football league where he found a level playing field where he could make big contributions to his team's success.Today, at age 46, Chris says he hadn't missed a game since he was 20 - that is, until that fateful play during the 2018 season.
"When the ball was hiked, I went to accelerate," says Chris, "I pushed off with my right foot, pushed off with my left foot and it felt like somebody had kicked me in the back of the leg."
Chris knew immediately what had happened because a friend had recently suffered a similar Achilles tendon injury.He remembered his friend describing the sensation of being kicked in the leg, although in both cases, there were no other players around.Unfortunately for Chris and his team, their Quarterback had to be walked off the field and without a solid backup, they failed to score another point during that crucial playoff game.
"That was tough for me because my team was playing really well at the time.We most likely would have gone on to win the finals," says Chris.
After proceeding directly to an urgent care facility, Chris was able to confirm his diagnosis of an Achilles tendon tear.He got to work right away searching for the best Achilles surgeon in the Atlanta area.His online searches led him to Resurgens Orthopaedics and Dr. Erroll Bailey, who advised him that he would need surgery, and that getting it done as soon as possible would greatly improve his chances of playing flag football again.Chris scheduled his surgery for about 2 weeks later.
"Pat did a great job of keeping a positive spin on everything."
Because his Achilles tear was so clean, Dr. Bailey was easily able to repair Chris's injury and he went home on crutches the very same day with little more than a small, clean incision and some staples to hold it together.Once the staples were removed 3 weeks later, he got started on his physical therapy with Pat Coar at Resurgens Orthopaedics.Chris and Pat became fast friends and Chris says he appreciated Pat's positivity and straightforward manner.
"It was hard work and there were days when it hurt a lot.Pat did a great job of keeping a positive spin on everything.There were days when it was hard to stay motivated but he helped keep me focused on the progress I was making."
Throughout those difficult days in physical therapy, Chris kept himself motivated with thoughts of returning to the field and playing flag football with his team again.Thanks to Dr. Bailey, Pat, and his own determination, Chris stepped onto the field again at QB in March of 2019 to play his first game since the injury.This year, he played in each of 9 regular season games, one playoff game, and a Championship, which his team won handily.The team they played in the Championship turned out to be the very same team that had won last year; the same team he likely would have played against had he not been injured.
Having fully redeemed himself, Chris was happy to accept his league's Championship trophy, as well as a medal given to each player.Always humble, Chris knew there was only one person who should wear that medal: his Physical Therapist, Pat, who was thrilled to receive such a meaningful token of appreciation.
"I definitely wouldn't have been able to win it without him," says Chris.
Dr. Bailey, Pat, and all the staff at Resurgens are proud that they were able to help Chris Whitlow recover from his injury and go on to achieve his dreams of gridiron glory. Keep training hard, Chris, and good luck with your next season; we know you're going to win it all!