Johns Creek Wheelchair Athlete Praises Dr. Sami Khan for Innovative, Exceptional Treatment

James “Jimbo” Boyd, 55, of Johns Creek, has participated in 109 full marathons and countless 10-kilometer races, but he isn’t your average road race enthusiast. Since the age of 15, he has been a C5 quadriplegic — paralyzed from the C5 spine vertebra down. Although mobility differs from case to case, the average C5 quadriplegic has very limited use of their arms, which makes Boyd’s athletic track record truly exceptional. 

Boyd said finding an athletic outlet after his accident was a natural progression for him. “I was an extremely active kid,” says Boyd. “So it didn’t take long for me to make my way into wheelchair athletics.” In 1978, a mere four years after the diving accident that caused Boyd’s partial paralysis, he was wheeling in his first marathon. By 1980 he had completed his first road race, and by 1981 he had completed his first full marathon. 

Fast-forward almost 32 years to 2012; Boyd’s impressive but taxing athletic feats had begun to take a toll on his shoulders, particularly his rotator cuffs. “I had my first rotator cuff surgery in October of 2012,” said Boyd. “But the traditional approach to repair the damage wasn’t successful.” 

Given Boyd’s partial paralysis, any serious damage to his arms or upper body would not only take him out of wheelchair athletics, but would threaten his ability to live independently. 

Soon after this first unsuccessful procedure, Boyd began hearing from other wheelchair athletes about a Dr. Sami Khan with Resurgens Orthopaedics, who was having great success repairing rotator cuff tears with a double row repair – an innovative new treatment involving Arthrex surgical anchors (Arthrex.com). 

Boyd scheduled an appointment with Dr. Khan to discuss this new approach, and was immediately impressed. “He was just so caring and compassionate,” said Boyd. “It was clear that he is very methodical and great at what he does.” 

“I’m truly held together thanks to Dr. Khan and Arthrex”

Shortly after that first meeting, in June of 2013, Dr. Khan performed the double row repair to Boyd’s rotator cuff tear using the Arthrex surgical anchors. Three months later, Boyd had regained full independence. 

Although he decided against returning to wheelchair athletics after the procedure, in efforts to further preserve the mobility in his arms, Boyd has no regrets. “I was able to have a very full and exciting athletic career,” said Boyd. “I enjoyed every mile, but maintaining my independence is the most important thing at this point.” 

Boyd says it is ultimately thanks to Dr. Khan, and his innovative medical approach, that he continues to maintain this independence. “I’m truly held together thanks to Dr. Khan and Arthrex,” says Boyd.  

Dr. Khan received his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He completed his residency at the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York, New York and his fellowship at Mississippi Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Khan specializes in arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery of the shoulder, elbow, and knee, as well as sports medicine. He is also currently the Chief of Orthopaedics at Emory Johns Creek Hospital. 

Resurgens Orthopaedics, Georgia’s largest orthopaedic practice, has 21 offices and six surgery centers throughout metro Atlanta. With 96 physicians, Resurgens provides specialized expertise and broad experience in the areas of sports medicine, joint replacement, neck and back surgery, foot and ankle surgery, shoulder and elbow surgery, non-operative spine care, hand surgery, arthroscopic surgery, epidural steroid injection, general orthopaedics, and trauma care. Resurgens provides comprehensive musculoskeletal care in a single location, from injury diagnosis and treatment to rehabilitation services.