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Let’s Move Quad Cities: Former chief deputy sheriff and longtime shooting coach gets successful double wrist fusion surgery

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MOLINE, Illinois — A local man, known within the local law enforcement community for teaching hundreds of officers how to shoot, has been dealing with some major wrist pain. On Thursday, February 16,2017 he got the cast on his right wrist sawed off.

"Oh, that feels good to get that off," said Mark Schumacher, a retired Chief Deputy Sheriff for Knox County, as he sat on a padded clinic bench at the ORA office in Moline.

The day the cast came off, marked nearly three months since Schumacher got his wrist fused to fix the arthritis that eats away at his wrist cartilage. Getting the plaster cast off is the next step on his road to recovery and getting back to what he loves.

"This one, in another few months will be back to the same point where I'll be shooting right handed," said Schumacher, as he looked down at his wrist at Shooting Stars indoor gun range in downtown Moline.

His left wrist was fused three years ago; this past summer, he knew it was time to get his dominant hand done.

"It was one of those, 'I know I got to get it done this winter'," said Schumacher.

"I proposed that after a trial of some non-operative pain management that we undertake some wrist surgery to see if we could improve his function," said Dr. Thomas VonGillern, an orthopedic surgeon at ORA. He performed wrist fusion surgery on both of Schumacher's wrists.

Now, Schumacher has permanently limited mobility in his wrists, but the pain once endured, has virtually disappeared.

"He is definitely a guy who will make things work no matter what happens and he has done very, very well and has adapted to shooting with his left, but he'll be shooting with his right again," said Dr. VonGillern.

In his retirement, Schumacher enjoys his passion of shooting. For 30 years he was a competitive shooter. Over the years, Schumacher says he's probably taught 600 law enforcement officers how to shoot. So many so, people he may not even remember come up to him from time to time to recall when Schumacher was their coach.

At Shooting Starts the same afternoon he got his plaster cast replaced with a black softer one, Schumacher spent a half-hour coaching 14-year-old Emerson how to shoot.

Deliberately, Emerson stepped up to the counter of the shooting range and shot a tight pattern on a target down range.

"You're doing great, thanks Emerson," said Schumacher, as the lesson wrapped-up.

"The ability to watch [my students] and tell them what they're doing wrong or how to modify what they're doing so that they can shoot - I don't have to shoot to do that, but I like to shoot, I shoot constantly," said Schumacher.

Now, Schumacher says he's holding steadier now than in the 30 years he did while shooting competitively.

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