Spinal Champion Story: Tony’s Triathlons


A Spinal Champion Story

Tony shares his Spinal Champion story here: I am a volunteer fireman who has been active my entire life, doing triathlons, swimming, skiing, etc. After a day of heavy lifting, however, I began experiencing numbness in my left leg that progressed to the point where I could not walk on my own and couldn’t even get into bed.

Symptoms became so severe that I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Doctors there suggested pain medications, but I knew things were more serious. Dr. Slosar at SpineCare Medical Group had successfully treated my back pain with injections many years ago, so I decided to see if he could help again.

Tony was absolutely miserable with pain” said Dr. Slosar. “His MRI showed that a large disc herniation was compressing the spinal nerves and he was losing function in his leg. Tony and I decided together that surgery was the best choice.”

>>>>> Spinal Champion Elite Runner Ray Pugsley’s Story

Treatment & Recovery

I knew that Dr. Slosar has advanced training in minimally invasive spine surgery and has operated on many high-level athletes. He performed a minimally invasive microdiscectomy and I was able to go home a few hours afterwards, something unheard of in spine surgery only a few short years ago. When I woke up from surgery, the leg pain was immediately gone and my strength had quickly returned to normal with physical therapy.

Tony’s Life Today

Having surgery was the best decision I ever made. I continue to enjoy a very active lifestyle including endurance training and firefighting. Swimming is the exercise I prefer to minimize back pain.

Tony’s post-surgery accomplishments include:

  • Completing The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon – placing 139 out of 2,000 – six months to the day after surgery
  • Completing his second Trans-Tahoe Relay swim as part of a six-man team that swam 11.5 miles across Lake Tahoe – without wetsuits!
  • Swimming the Bridge to Bridge 10k – a San Francisco open-water swim for a small group of elite swimmers – and placing first
  • Celebrating his 32nd birthday doing the Maui Channel Swim

Watch Tony’s video.