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Shoulder injury requires physical therapy, then surgery for Union instructor

The Hero Rush sends runners through a four-mile course with up to 20 firefighter-themed obstacles — from climbing ladders and sliding down poles, to crawling through windows, breaking down doors and saving trapped victims.

It’s an intense race, and Union University’s Jennifer Farroll destroyed her shoulder trying to complete it on April 20.

“There was a lot of climbing and pulling and lifting,” Farroll said.

When she came to a tower obstacle and jumped off into a water pit 10 feet below, she wrenched her shoulder. She knew immediately that she was injured.

Jennifer Farroll, Union University’s clinical coordinator for the athletic training program, needed surgery after tearing her shoulder.

An MRI with contrast at the West Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic would show that she had torn the labrum in her right shoulder in three places.

“I just knew it wasn’t going to get better,” Farroll said. “I knew I was going to have to have surgery.”

Farroll is an athlete who encounters physical activity during her free time as well as on the job. At Union, she’s the clinical coordinator for the athletic training education program, an associate professor for athletic training education and an associate athletic trainer for the women’s basketball team.

She needed to get through the semester before undergoing surgery. At the same time, she’s training for a half marathon at Disney World in November, so she needed time to prepare.

“I literally had a two-week window during the summer,” Farroll said.

She saw Dr. David Pearce a couple of weeks after the injury, and they worked out a plan. Farroll received an injection in her shoulder and began rehab to get her through the school year. But by June, the injury was making it difficult to sleep — even sitting up was painful, Farroll said.

Dr. Pearce was accommodating and flexible, and he worked around her schedule to operate, Farroll said. “They set the date for June 19.“Dr. Pearce was amazing. He goes out of his way.”

Farroll had surgery before when she lived in Florida, and she was tempted to go back to her hometown doctor — who also is her uncle. Since she often recommends West Tennessee Bone & Joint Clinic to athletes at Union, however, she felt she needed to follow the recommendation that she had given to so many others.

She’s glad she did. In addition to the level of care from Dr. Pearce, the clinic’s staff treated her well. Because of her profession, Farroll is familiar with sports injuries and collaborated with the clinic’s staff during physical therapy.

“The staff has been great, and they’ve listened to everything I’ve had to say,” Farroll said.

Today, her injury is improving. She has close to a full range of motion in her shoulder, and she’s rebuilding her strength. And, she’s looking forward to finishing that 13.1-mile half marathon in Orlando.