From Injured to Athlete: Hope and Victory After Surgery


It’s Spine Health Awareness Month and we want to spotlight some of the incredible Spinal Champions we’ve partnered with here at the National Spine Health Foundation. When dynamic athlete Sheldon Buytenhuys (a member of the NHSF Board) was injured in a car accident, he worried he’d never be able to get back to living the active like he loved so much. He had been an athlete all of his life, but in 2010, he was in a car accident where another driver ran a red light.

Car Accident Back Injury: Dealing with the Pain

While he initially thought he would fine, weeks later, as he began to get more active again, he noticed a lot of pain and irritation on the right side of his body. Hip pain, misalignment and other problems arose.

>>>> What Doctors Wish Their Patients Knew About Spinal Fusions

The pain increased and he struggled to find a helpful diagnosis. Ultimately, there was a small hairline fracture below S1 in his pelvis, putting pressure on the nerves coming out of other discs.

After trying a number of treatments, including injections and therapy, Sheldon and his doctor decided surgery was the only option left.

Back Surgery After Car Accident

With three young children and a full-time job, he needed to be able to function without pain. After the successful surgery, Sheldon immediately started to get back to normal. After a few days, he was up and walking and within 6 months, he was able to run the “We’ve Got Your Back” 5K with us. Several years later, he completed a full Iron Man race.

>>>>> Am I Candidate for Regenerative Medicine?

Before surgery, Sheldon’s pain was nearly unbearable, and that’s something millions of Americans can relate to. But because he didn’t give up, Sheldon was able to work with his doctors to find a personalized solution based on proven research and technology.

Sheldon had this to say: 

“At the time of my accident, and when I had surgery, I was a PGA golf professional. I was an avid triathlete marathon runner so they idea of not doing anything was a little alarming.

I took the approach of making sure I was listening to my therapists and doctors — and I set small goals. I set a goal of just achieving the finish line.

It allowed me to heal on the right scale and get back to an active lifestyle.  And I’ve now completed an Iron Man and have run a couple of marathons since surgery.”

Watch our interview with Sheldon here:

End Back Pain With Us

Sheldon’s story is one that shows the miracles of modern spinal care.  And this sheds light on the importance of conducting clinical research that leads to successful outcomes like his. We won’t see this kind of healing without the funding to find cures. With your generous financial help, we can bring many more individuals out of their pain and back into the lives they love.