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Peter Mulhern

Brewster, NY

I have been training with weights since I was 15 years old. At age 46, on June 8, 2013, I had my first major workout injury. I was training legs with heavy weights and completed my set of the exercise. I thought the weight was racked at the end of the set, but it wasn't; 600 pounds came down and squished my legs like an accordion. It happened so fast, and I could not fight the weight on the way down. I watched, and listened, as my legs snapped and changed from thick, hard machines of meat and bone into a couple of broken broomsticks. The pain was intense, my heart rate was through the roof and I couldn't breathe. I thought I'd have a heart attack, but somehow my cardio/respiratory rate became manageable after about 30 seconds or so. Somehow the pain became manageable too. I work out late at night, so there was no staff there to help me. I dragged myself out from under the weight. My legs couldn't do anything beneath my hips, so I dragged myself out. I sort of sat on the floor in an "L" position, and used my arms to push myself up and backwards, one dip at a time. My phone was in the locker room. I called EMTs. I had full-thickness bilateral quadriceps tears. My patellas were both relocated to the outsides of each knee, and nothing was connecting the muscles on the fronts of my thighs to my knees. The surgical repair was done at a local hospital near my home, but the outcome was less than great. On a late Friday night at the office in August 2013, long after everybody else went home, I fell down the stairs and both quadriceps tendons were completely ruptured again. Pain was followed by deep anger and hopelessness as I considered recovery from the first surgery was incomplete, and my knees were now such a mess I may never walk again. I caught my senses and reached a phone to call for help. I dragged myself across the long floor of the building to open the door for the EMTs. They took me to a local hospital near my office where they couldn't do a weekend surgery of this depth, and they put steel-rod braces on my legs, called me a cab and sent me home. I needed a specialist if I was going to be able to walk again....I found Dr. Stephen Fealy at HSS. He was calm, knowledgeable and inspired confidence. My feeling was well-founded judging from the result of Dr. Fealy's work. While I am not able to do the things I did before with my legs, Dr. Fealy's expertise in making new quadriceps tendons for me and reconstructing my quadriceps muscles has had me walking again. Not only am I walking, my legs are able to support my large body and heavy weights when I am lifting. The dumbbell I am lifting weighs 150 pounds. Thank you Dr. Fealy and your staff. Your effort and skill have helped me keep my freedom and strength, when my outcome could have been a complete loss of both!