Let’s Move Quad Cities: Power-Lifting Principal Shows Strength Post-Surgery

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When he was 25 years old, he made history.

"It was the National Championships in Dallas, Texas in 1986," said Charlie Driscoll.

It was there that Charlie dead-lifted 854 pounds, which is still one of the top-ranked dead-lifts of all time.

"That number still means something to today's lifters," he explained. "While the lifts have increased and world records have grown, that number is still impressive to today's young guys."

Today, Charlie is an Assistant Principal at Davenport Central High School.

"I went back to college to become a teacher, got my Master's Degree, became a Principal, and just settled down in life," Charlie said. "But I never quit training."

In fact, 24 years later - in 2010 - Charlie trained and competed once again. At 50 years old, he dead-lifted 766 pounds and became a world champion.

"I had to overcome aches and pains and professional life - working 12-hour days and still going to the gym and the demands of being a Principal - so that was probably much more challenging and thus more rewarding at that time," he said.

However, it came at a cost. Four years later - in December 2014 - Charlie had to get his knee replaced.

"Everything is gradual, but at some point you notice it," he said. "Your entire body deteriorates if you're an athlete. Everything deteriorates over time."

"Sometimes people get by for awhile - they use bracing  and Charlie had tried that also - but when it's pain all the time and you can't do what you want to do then most people look to the joint replacement," said Dr. Peter Rink, with ORA Orthopedics.

Dr. Rink performed a routine knee replacement on Charlie. The procedure is very common. ORA Orthopedics perform more than 1,200 of them every year.

"We do it for arthritis," explained Dr. Rink. "It's when there's loss of the joint cartilage. It's the surface of the joint that's worn. Just like you may have wear of a tire, you get wear of the surface and when it gets to bone on bone, options start becoming limited."

More than eight months after his surgery, Charlie says he feels great and is ready to start a new school year with his new knee.

"I really enjoy what I do, because I work with kids who need me and that means a lot," said Charlie. "This is what keeps me going. Everything else is a hobby. This is my life. This is my calling. I was put here to work with kids and to work with challenged kids and that's what my passion in life is."

Charlie says he still trains four days a week, but there are no plans for him to compete in the near future. For now, he says he's focused on helping his students graduate. He says that's his #1 goal.

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