Tyler Oaks – SLAP and Rotator Cuff Tear Repair Surgery & Physical Therapy

My name is Tyler Oaks. I’m a Junior at Eastern Mennonite University and I play on the Men’s Volleyball Team.

I want to share my story about shoulder surgery with Dr. Martin Coleman to help other young people, especially athletes, who may have an injury and are facing a period of uncertainty while they recover.

I was fortunate and had never been injured previously.  But in my freshman year at college, my shoulder began hurting and it was affecting my volleyball.  It hurt bad enough that I told my mom.  Luckily, she works for Orthopaedic and Spine Center in Newport News, VA and she quickly got me in to see Dr. Martin Coleman, an Orthopaedic Shoulder Specialist with the practice.   After x-rays, and exam and an MRI, Dr. Coleman diagnosed me with a SLAP tear and tear of the rotator cuff in my right shoulder, which would need surgery to repair.  I had surgery in December of 2020.

Recovery took a very long time. I was out freshman year into sophomore year season of volleyball. To be honest, I developed a mild depression during those months of not using my shoulder and then months of stretches and Physical Therapy, wondering if I would ever come back enough to play volleyball again.  But I did exactly what Dr. Coleman told me to do, I didn’t drive until he told me I could, and my mom said that you could set your clock by me doing my stretches every day, I was so faithful.  I also worked closely with Dr. Jamie Swale, DPT at the OSC Physical Therapy Clinic for six months.  She helped keep me motivated, emailed me exercises during COVID-19 when I couldn’t work with my trainers at school and pushed me when I wanted to stop. The communication was always there of what I should be doing and shouldn’t be doing between Dr. Coleman, Dr. Swale, and myself.  After about six months, I got to go to volleyball practice, but was very limited in what I could do.  Dr. Coleman did not want me to retear his great surgical work!

After a year of recovery,  I am back on the court, playing, feeling brand new and my shoulder barely hurts at all.   If I had to give any piece of advice to someone who is going through the same situation as I was, keep fighting and don’t give up; it’s about the end result, not always about what is happening right now. Don’t give up!

Tyler Oaks