Conditions + Treatments
On November 24, 2012, our then 13 year-old son, Colton, hurt his arm during an off-season baseball conditioning program with his travel team. During batting practice the following Saturday (December 1), Colton was unable to swing his bat without pain and was unable to straighten out his throwing arm. My husband, Charles, immediately knew something was wrong and asked Dr. Jeff Dugas to look at his arm.
We scheduled an appointment with Dr. Jeff Dugas to determine the extent of the injury. Charles took Colton to his December 5 appointment. After a physical evaluation and reviewing x-rays, Dr. Dugas diagnosed Colton with a displaced partial medial epicondyle fracture. Dr. Dugas described the injury as a “chipped bone on Colton’s growth plate” and recommended an immediate surgery to fix it. During the surgical consult, Dr. Dugas explained at length the risks, benefits and alternatives of the surgical procedure and Charles agreed to proceed with surgery.
I was at work the day Colton and Charles had the appointment with Dr. Dugas. Charles called me and relayed Dr. Dugas’ diagnosis and recommendation. Colton’s surgery was scheduled for the next day – December 6. When Charles called to let me know Colton was scheduled for surgery the next day, I initially thought he was joking. Colton had never had any type of baseball-related injury and my husband and I certainly didn’t expect surgery was the only alternative. It was a whirlwind couple of days.
On December 6, 2012, Dr. Dugas performed an orthopaedic surgery known as open reduction internal fixation to repair the injured elbow. The surgery went well. We had our first post-op visit with Dr. Dugas a few days after Colton’s surgery. Dr. Dugas laid out an elaborate rehabilitation program for the next 6+ months. It included extensive physical therapy that eased Colton back into baseball. From late December, 2012 through the first six months of 2013, Colton had 3 physical therapy sessions per week and was on a strict program to not throw anything – baseball, basketball, football – for nearly 6 months.
For a 13 year-old kid who loves playing sports, being told you can’t throw for nearly 6 months was the most difficult part of Colton’s recovery process. However, we tried to provide Colton with as much normalcy as possible, with Colton going to his team's 2013 baseball games and sitting on the bench with the team. The camaraderie helped keep Colton’s spirits up and focused on his rehabilitation to overcome the injury. Over time, Colton’s arm continued to heal and Dr. Dugas released him with no restrictions 8 months later. Moving forward, the entire experience changed our family’s lives.
Fast forward three and a half years and Colton is now 16 years-old, and quickly approaching his junior year at Vestavia Hills High School. He played second base and pitcher his freshman and sophomore seasons on the high school baseball freshman and jv teams.
Our family believes Dr. Dugas is an incredible doctor and friend. The uncertainty our family faced with Colton’s injury in late 2012 definitely caught our family’s attention. Baseball has been such a huge part of Colton and our family’s life for more than 12 years. The memorable experiences far outweigh the difficult time we faced with Colton’s surgery and rehabilitation. While he could have gotten down on himself, I saw my son’s character develop with the dedication and discipline he displayed while facing adversity. I know he will draw on that experience and it will positively impact him the remainder of his life.
Deanna Bellsnyder (Colton's Mom)