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  • Meg McCall

Getting Her Life Back: How One Paddler Returned to Kayaking After Major Shoulder Surgery

Ruth Morrow was 44 miles into a one-day, 100-mile bike ride in upstate New York when the unthinkable happened. She was riding in a JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes for her daughter who has Type 1 Diabetes. Another rider came up on her left side, and as they chatted, Ruth's wheel went off the uneven road which had a 5-inch drop. Her tire struck the wrong way and sent her flying over her handlebars. She landed squarely on her left shoulder, shattering the top of her humerus bone and impacting it so forcefully that it flipped upside down.

Kayaking with a torn rotator cuff and broken humerus

“I utterly demolished my shoulder. I didn’t just break my humerus, the accident obliterated the muscles and tendons of my rotator cuff and other ligaments in the area,” says Ruth. Her fundraising efforts cut short, she was immediately scheduled for surgery, and by the next day she was pieced back together with a plate and pins.


Shoulder Trauma: A Long Road to Recovery


“That was September 2019, and it was a very long recovery process,” she notes. “Everything was impacted -- abduction and adduction movement, raising my arm higher than my waist, and trying to turn my arm were all problematic. It took a real toll on the muscle structures of my shoulder, which are one of the most difficult things to heal.”