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Craig Raucher

Staten Island, NY
  • Craig Raucher in the photo 1

Coming Back Strongly to Play Competitive Basketball From Total Knee Replacement Surgeries After Age 55:

I am a 62-year-old man with a long and rich basketball history. I am the founder and Commissioner of the Staten Island Basketball League and have played organized and college basketball for 52 years. I've had many knee surgeries over the years due to basketball injuries. Eventually had to have both knees replaced as the pain was unbearable and the quality of my life was not good.

As an aging athlete, basketball and working out defined my nature and was a shield against growing old.

I had first knee replaced at another hospital when I was 59 and the second knee replaced by Dr. Mayman when I was 61 at HSS. My experience at HSS from intake to surgery to post-op pain management to discharge was outstanding in every way. My only regret is that I only have 2 knees to replace (only kidding).

I was told by both surgeons that I would not be able to play highly competitive full court basketball again. I listened but at that point was determined to get back to playing at a high level regardless of what I was told.

I worked very hard prior to and after both knee replacements because I wanted to defy the odds. I worked with physical therapists several times per week supplementing those sessions with strong workouts in a fitness gym and using treadmill and stretching techniques in my house.

Six months after the second knee surgery at the HSS, I began shooting. Around 9 months later I resumed playing full court basketball, twice a week, 3 hours each session, with men 30 years younger then me and holding my own.

I am a living, breathing and playing testimonial to an individual who found the right surgeon in Dr. Mayman, found the right hospital in the HSS and added to this a very high level of determination to play ball competitively again.

7-Year Follow Up (November 9, 2020):

In 2013, at the age of 62, I had written an article about having both my knees replaced through total knee replacement surgery and my powerful and positive experiences post-op. The purpose of that initial article was to provide the patients view with the intent of giving people the hope that this type of surgery is well merited and produces tremendous results mentally, physically and emotionally.

My experience at The Hospital for Special Surgery and with my orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Mayman was outstanding. It is now 7 years later and I wanted to share these past several years in terms of what my experiences have been.

I am the Founder and Commissioner of one of the oldest basketball groups in New York City, with 2021 beginning our 41st year. Over the years the Staten Island Basketball League (www.sibl.us) has had over 350 players walk through our doors.

Up until COVID-19 hit in March and we closed down, I continued to play full court competitive basketball 3 times per week spanning several hours each session. I have no issues with range of motion, no soreness, pain or stiffness. I have stayed in fairly good shape over these years by working out, running on a treadmill, stretching, lifting weights etc. The average age of players is 40 years so at age 69 I must be able to compete strongly or not play at all. It is true that I am not a resilient as I was years ago and I do not have the same stamina but I am a good shooter, rebounder and defender and play every aspect of the game competitively.

Having my knees replaced was one of the very best medical decisions I have ever made. I was in constant pain, limping around, stiff and generally miserable. As a long time basketball player and jogger both of my knees were operated on over the years and I lost all cartilage. The pain from arthritis was almost unbearable.

What is equally important to share about this surgery is that the work that I put in prior to the surgery and the post-op rehab work I put in are keys to getting back to where I needed to be. The operation alone is but one component of the process and working at getting full range of motion is important.

Like many people facing the decision of having total knee replacement surgery it can be scary and overwhelming however if you do your research, understand the huge benefits to the quality of your life it is a decision that will have a dramatic effect on your livelihood.

You do not have to be athletically inclined. Simple day-to-day activities are greatly hindered when you have pain in conjunction with feeling miserable.

Finding the right orthopedic surgeon and the right hospital for this type of surgery is critically important. A good start is HSS.