School teacher and family man Justin Prichard learned the hard way what happens when a shoulder injury gets out of hand. After 25 years of playing and coaching rugby, Prichard found that his shoulders had taken a severe beating.
I’m very grateful to Dr. Kauffman for giving me my life back.
"I've had three rotator cuff tears on my right shoulder and one on my left," Prichard says. "The last was the worst. My shoulder dislocated and popped down into my armpit, and they couldn't put it back in."
By the time he met orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey Kauffman, M.D., at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, Prichard had already undergone three rotator cuff surgeries. According to Dr. Kauffman, Justin's rotator cuffs weren't just torn—they were shredded. So Dr. Kauffman operated with a new and minimally invasive surgery technique, using a fiber-optic device called an arthroscope. With this type of surgery, the incisions are tiny, which means patients recover faster, with much less joint stiffness.
Today, Prichard is feeling like his old self again. Even so, he's decided to stop playing rugby and coach the game instead. "It took four surgeries, but it finally sank in that being able to throw a baseball with my kids is more important than playing rugby on a Saturday morning," he says. "I'm very grateful to Dr. Kauffman for giving me my life back."