Caleb Halstead

Birmingham, AL

Most of my life I have attempted to maintain a reasonable degree of good health and physical fitness. As I have grown older and arthritis has spread to most of my joints, I have had to have numerous surgical procedures to repair or replace damaged or worn out parts. By my mid-sixties I was fighting hard to maintain my weight at a healthy level and to maintain a level of fitness - and losing. A home gym, resistance bands, weights and stationary bicycles were no longer getting it done.

Some friends suggested I try a "new" exercise program or regimen called CrossFit Training, so I visited a CrossFit gym (they're called "boxes") in Alabaster and was interested in and intrigued by what I saw. I signed up. The first several visits, I thought I was going to DIE, but the coaches helped me scale my workouts (called WODs - Workout Of the Day) to accommodate my age (69 at the time), abilities and physical limitations. Even with scaling to accommodate my needs, the workouts are all very intense and very challenging. I began looking forward to my almost daily WODs. After about 18 months I had lost around 20 pounds, was much stronger and had much better endurance and stamina.

However, I began having an ache in my right hip that would not go away. It grew steadily worse and began affecting my ability to do any of the WODs that involved bending, stooping or squatting. I began having cortisone injections into the hip joint but they relieved the pain only temporarily. I could not walk any appreciable distance without being in a lot of pain. Then I became unable to play a complete round of golf - even when riding in a cart.

The wife of a golfing buddy had hip replacement surgery performed by Dr. Jeff Davis and she highly recommended him. I made an appointment not knowing exactly what to expect in terms of treatment, but after x-rays and tests Dr. Davis told me I was a prime candidate for hip replacement surgery. We discussed my desire to continue participating in CrossFit training and agreed that he would perform anterior hip replacement surgery. My surgery was on December 8, 2014, and went without a hitch. I must say that it was very comforting to me and to my wife when Dr. Davis suggested we pray together before I was taken into surgery that morning. I was completely confident that I was in good hands spiritually and medically.

I was up moving around using a walker the morning after my surgery and learned some rehabilitation exercises to follow from the physical therapists. I have never looked back. I returned to my CrossFit box about three weeks after my surgery and began limited exercises. By that time I could already squat with my thighs parallel to the floor (i.e., not a full squat, but on the way). Three weeks after my return to CrossFit (six weeks post-surgery), I entered an international CrossFit competition - the 2015 CrossFit Open. I finished the 5-week competition with a creditable score and standing in the southeast region in my division - men scaled 60+.

I have continued CrossFit training and can now perform a full squat in addition to other physical accomplishments. At my January, 2015, appointment with Dr. Davis, he released me to begin limited running (short distance jogs) and jumping (jump rope). I have to say that learning to jump rope for the first time in my life and at my age has been one of the most frustrating things I have ever attempted! How do little kids do that so easily?!?!

I competed in the 2016 CrossFit Open in March/April of this year. While I was not as successful in my performance in 2016 as in the previous year, I attribute some portion of that to being another year older (I'm 72 now) and feel that each additional year at this time in my life is more difficult than single year increases for men in their 30s, 40s, 50s and even 60s. I remain extremely grateful to Dr. Davis, his staff, Andrews Sports & Orthopaedic Center and St. Vincent's Hospital for the wonderful treatment and service I received.

This successful surgery has given me a new lease on the kind of life that I want to continue to lead. I know I cannot out run age and I'm aware that arthritis is continuing it's advance into other joints, but I am supremely confident that when another bony part of my body wears out or breaks down Dr. Davis and his colleagues will be there to fix it for me and keep me going a little longer.