Gary D. Hammer, M.D., Ph.D.

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Shoulder Surgery

Millie Schembechler Professor of Adrenal Cancer

Director – Endocrine Oncology Program

University of Michigan

“Numbers are just numbers right?? But for my climbing family and friends, numbers can both ‘keep us grounded’ (hmmm, I am not as good as I thought I was) as well as propel  us up a boulder or mountain, (a route, a problem, a wall, a rock face) Now to the “numbers” —- It has been 9 months since a major shoulder operation to repair the massive tears of my rotator cuff muscles with re-attachment of 3 left shoulder muscles (supraspinatis, infraspinatis and biceps tendon) using 6 inserted anchors/pins.  Shout out to amazing orthopedic surgeon Peter Millett, MD Orthopedic Surgeon – Sports Injuries (Vail Health) and outstanding physical therapists/trainers  –  Nico Brown at Howard Head Sports Medicine and Medical Provider – USA Climbing) and Dale Hazard (University of Michigan MEDSPORT). It has been a journey of professional rehab with these amazing folks together with guided self-rehab every day 4-6 AM and a slow climbing progression over the last few months. Now the drumroll!!! This old guy at 52 just climbed a bunch of V6 and a V7 bouldering problems (his first at these levels) over the last couple week. Feels good to be back on rock with shoulders that are probably stronger than pre­injury.   I know, I know, they are indeed just numbers and some would say the climbs were weak, indoor problems and/or rated too high.  Maybe!!!  Doesn’t matter what matters is the journey and the motivation to return so I can still climb with my kids and wife, Lisa. So ­ like a young schoolboy ­ I am giddy and grateful to be back.

Onward and upward….”