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Neil Cook

New York, NY

I've been a competitive athlete since my freshman year in high school (1957). I started running and competing again in 1978 doing well over 40 races a year, from a mile to an ultra marathon. In 1991 I placed 3rd overall in a 100-mile stage race. In 1999 my wife and I started doing triathlons. With the same focus and competitive approach, I made the USA Triathlon Age Group World Team. Obviously, I was serious about competitive running and triathlons. That is until my left hip started to hurt. The pain and loss of range of motion continued until I couldn't touch my left foot. After a series of cortisone shots over 3 years (Dr. Alex Simotas, whom I knew from swim coaching) it was clear I needed surgery.

Dr. David Mayan was recommended by my wife, and after a few consultations I decided Dr. Mayman was the best orthopedic surgeon to replace my hip. Of course, my goal was to get back into competition. Four weeks after the surgery and PT I was ready to think about and plan racing again.

Then I developed an infection in the joint. Fortunately, my wife is an operating room nurse and immediately recognized the seriousness of my infection and rushed me to the ER. I was transferred to HSS for a second hip replacement. The recovery was long and painful. 12 weeks later I was able to take care of myself and not cause any more stress for my wife. The experience changed my philosophy of life. Only two things mattered any longer - to be able to take care of myself and not cause stress for my wife.

In the back of my mind a thought of putting a number back on and going to the starting line again. I started with swimming and cycling, then fast walking and slow jogging. August will be my one year anniversary getting my hip replaced the second time. I've competed in four triathlons, taking 3rd and 2nd in my age group in two of them. While my running isn't back to where it used to be, age and a year of rebuilding my strength have slowed me down. But I'm pinning the number back on and doing what I love - competing.

Dr. Mayman, and Dr. Cross (who took care of the infection and did the second replacement) have put me back where I was a year ago. The experience was life changing. Dr. Mayman was great. Dr. Cross saved my life. Both did more than I expected was possible. I wouldn't consider or recommend any other doctors for hip or knee surgery, and I wouldn't recommend any other hospital than HSS for any orthopedic surgery.

Saving my life and making it possible for me to be competitive again is a blessing.