News / USA

    Medical Advances Keep Runner on Track after Spinal Injury

    Medical Advances Keep Runner on Track after Spinal Injuryi
    X
    October 20, 2013 10:25 AM
    The National Institutes of Health says roughly 40 million people in the United States suffer from, or are at high risk for, osteoporosis, a condition that decreases bone mass and often results in fractures in the spine, hips, and wrists. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, while older women are more likely to develop the disease, it was a surprise to one man in the Chicago suburbs who had built a life on running and was at risk of being sidelined after his diagnosis.
    The National Institutes of Health says roughly 40 million people in the United States suffer from, or are at high risk for, osteoporosis, a condition that decreases bone mass and often results in fractures in the spine, hips, and wrists.  While older women are more likely to develop the disease, it was a surprise to one man in the Chicago suburbs who had built a life on running and was at risk of being sidelined after his diagnosis.

    Jon Macnider, or “Mac” to his friends, has been running since 1968. “Running is what keeps me sane, keeps me healthy and happy, and it’s what I enjoy doing," he said. "It’s something to start the day with.”

    From a hobby to a career

    What began as a hobby for Macnider turned into a career, first as a marathon runner, then teaching physical education at a suburban Chicago high school where he also coached a women’s running team.

    “It’s been rewarding.  Actually, my coaching career has been much more rewarding than my running career,” he stated.

    But during Macnider’s last year as coach, he ran right into a problem.

    “We were on an eight-mile run, and I turned over my shoulder to encourage some girls to keep up, and it felt like someone shot me in the back,” he explained.

    A visit to the doctor revealed it was not a gunshot, but a spinal injury caused by an unusual case of osteoporosis, or a thinning of Macnider’s bones. “I had a compression fracture of my T-7 vertebrae,” he said.

    Bone thinning, nearly ends coaching

    Macnider feared the injury meant the end of his running career. “We were the number one-ranked team in the state," he noted. "And my dream was to go out running with my girls and it wasn’t going to happen.”

    Orthopedic spine surgeon Thomas McNally said in the past this might have sidelined Macnider. “What they would have done is treated him with brace treatment and medications, and it would have taken him a longer time to get back to his activity level,” he said.

    But Dr. McNally had a different approach, suggesting Macnider undergo balloon kyphoplasty. It inserts a balloon into the spine near the site of the fracture. “You blow up the balloon, it makes a hole in the vertebral body, and then we fill with bone cement.  It acts like an internal cast,” he added.

    Treatment, fast track to wellness

    That internal cast has put the stride back in Macnider’s step.

    “Had the surgery on a Friday, walked out of the hospital and told my wife it’s fixed.   I started running again on Monday,” he recalled.

    Now, three years beyond the procedure, Macnider is preparing to do what he has done so well in the past, cross the marathon finish line one more time. “That’s the goal.  I’ve been taught to set goals.  That’s something I want to do, get to run a marathon with my kids," he said.

    He hopes to complete that goal next year before he reaches another milestone… his 60th birthday.

    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora