Let’s Move Quad Cities: Welder, Bowler Nearly Strikes Perfect Game Post-Surgery

On the day we met Denny Whitlock, he was literally on a roll.

The bowler hit strike after strike after strike. You would never know he had serious shoulder surgery.

"I was out working in the garage, moving some sandbags and some salt and shoveling and something - you could actually feel it or hear it - something tore inside my shoulder," he said.

"He actually had a very large rotator cuff tear," said Dr. Suleman Hussain, an Orthopedic Surgeon with ORA Orthopedics. "The rotator cuff are the tendons that attach to your shoulder to help your shoulder move and you can have small tears and large tears and Dennis actually had one of the largest tears I've seen."

Dennis grew up playing football, throwing shot-put and discus, and he's been bowling for around 40 years.

"You can do it year-round," he said. "It's something I've been doing forever."

On top of that, for the last 38 years, he's worked as a welder for John Deere.

"We build things every day, which I enjoy doing," said Dennis. "You pull things and you push things and you're yanking and shoving and doing stuff, so your body is physically used a lot during a course of an eight-hour shift."

Denny's injury didn't exactly come as a surprise to him and Dr. Hussain says it's not really rare for any age group.

"Shoulder injuries are getting quite common now," he explained. "I think it's a lot because people are doing more activities."

Fortunately, technology is moving shoulder procedures forward - making surgeries and recoveries less painful and faster.

"Here in the Quad Cities, we can offer a wide variety of shoulder care," said Dr. Hussain. "The advancements that have been implemented across the country - we're at the forefront of all of those and so the same arthroscopic measures that can be done anywhere can be done here just as effectively."

"ORA Orthopedics had me in and out in a day, which I thought was really good," added Dennis. "Dr. Hussain was very professional and very good with everything. If anything else goes wrong, I'd go right back to him and ask him if he could fix me up."

Today, Denny says he's got his life back. This past year, he drove a race car around the Newton Speedway and every Thursday, he's at Miller Time Bowl in Davenport playing with his John Deere League. In fact, on the day we interviewed Denny, he was one pin away from having a perfect game, which would have been his first 300 post-surgery. He's rounded up four perfect games pre-surgery.

"As I get a little older, those games are  harder to come by now, but it still put me back in the game again and everything's fine," he said. "I feel great."

*Let’s Move QC is a monthly segment on WQAD. It’s all about being the best version of you by introducing viewers to real people in the Quad Cities who are doing just that, with a little extra help from the surgeons at ORA Orthopedics. The stories air every month (usually the last Monday of the month) during News 8 at 5 p.m.