Let’s Move Quad Cities: CrossFit Competitor Recovers From “Catastrophic” Injury

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If dedication and drive had a sound & patience and persistence had a look, it would all sound like and look like Olivia Schmidt.

The 36-year-old Boot Camp Director at CrossFit Bettendorf is training for an upcoming competition one year after a shoulder injury her doctor describes as "catastrophic."

"It was literally like a bomb went off," said Dr. Suleman Hussain, Sports Medicine Surgeon at ORA Orthopedics.

Olivia said she was doing a pull-up when she heard a pop.

"I felt my bicep and I knew I had probably torn my bicep and then - in hopes I could just complete the workout - I picked up a bar with 115 pounds on it and another thing happened," she explained.

It was during emergency surgery at ORA Orthopedics that Dr. Hussain found something even worse.

"She had significant tears to multiple tendons in her shoulder," he explained. "She also tore her bicep and she tore her labrum."

"At the time, I knew - I thought - my CrossFit career was over," said Olivia.

However, thanks to advancements in technology, Dr. Hussain was able to repair Olivia's arm with a procedure that's minimally invasive - meaning a smaller incision, faster recovery, and less pain.

"I would say five years ago, Olivia would have a shoulder that would not function very well and so the fact that she is able to do what she does is kind of a testament to how technology and sports medicine have come so far," Dr. Hussain said.

It took a lot of hard work, though. After surgery, Olivia spent six months in rehab with ORA Physical Therapy Jordan DeNeve, who had observed Olivia's surgery.

"ORA has such a collaborative care model so it was really neat to get to observe surgery and then I picked up with her formally in physical therapy two weeks post-surgery," Jordan explained. "We had a long time together. She never missed an appointment. She was right there all the time."

"She never really had to tell me that she wanted to get back to CrossFit," added Jordan. "She was very humble and just said that this is something I really enjoy. This is something I'm passionate about and I want to get back to it in any capacity I'm able. It's been a really, really unique thing to watch how hard she has worked and progressed - really exceeding any expectations we could have had."

"ORA never told me - you need to stop - ever and so even after I had the surgery, they were supportive but realistic," said Olivia. "They also knew - she's going to get back."

One year later, Olivia is back and ready to compete worldwide. With dedication, drive, patience, and persistence, Olivia is all set to move upward and onward.

"Those four words are Olivia," said Jordan. "She really married all of those things together to make a very successful recovery. I think if you only have one of those things then you're not going to come out the way that it's supposed to. If you're only very driven, then you are going to rush and your'e going to fail  or if you're only very patient, then you're not going to know when to go and she married all those things so well into creating such a cool thing."

"You can never lose sight of your goals," concluded Olivia. "You have to keep working hard, be patient and stay positive, but never lose hope."

The CrossFit Games Open - which is what Olivia is training for right now - takes place February 25th, 2016.

For more success stories from our monthly Let's Move QC segment, click here.

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