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Shoulder surgery allowed athlete to return to strenuous CrossFit training

Jennie Keel

Jennie Keel is passionate about CrossFit – the strenuous strength and conditioning program that mixes weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio exercises. It’s not only her favorite sport; it’s also her dream job.

But four years ago, she tore her labrum in both shoulders while demonstrating an Olympic weightlifting maneuver called a split jerk. She knew right away she was hurt.

Keel saw Dr. Adam Smith at West Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic. He confirmed the injuries with an MRI and helped her decide what to do next. “He told me to tolerate it as long as you want and come back and see me when you can’t tolerate it anymore,” Keel said.

With the help of physical therapy a couple times a year at West Tennessee Bone & Joint, Keel worked through the pain as it grew increasingly worse over time. By November 2012, it was unbearable.

Jennie Keel uses her CrossFit
training in a competition.

“I couldn’t drive my car,” Keel said. “I couldn’t hold my steering wheel.” She could no longer participate in CrossFit, and she couldn’t share her love for the sport with her clients.

She owns CrossFit Jackson with her husband, Jayson, and their business has grown from a group of friends exercising in a park to a new building on Executive Drive. They have 165 clients from kids to adults who rely on them as fitness instructors.

“I was personally devastated,” she said. “My sport, my passion and my profession where affected, so it was time to get it fixed.”

Dr. Smith performed surgery on her left shoulder in November and on her right shoulder in February. He told her to expect recovery to take at least six months.

Today, she said her shoulders are back to 90 percent, and she expects to fully recover – particularly because she closely follows the advice of Dr. Smith and the clinic’s physical therapists. “I did everything they told me to do,” Keel said.

She’s CrossFit training again, and she’s coaching her clients. She said she’s very appreciative of Dr. Smith and the West Tennessee Bone & Joint staff for helping her return to her favorite sport.

“They’re great; I love them. They care about what you care about. They take into consideration what your goals are, and they work with you.”