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Broken arm can't stop athlete

Jackson Christian School was trailing North Parkway in the middle school jamboree on a Saturday in August when the Eagles’ coach called a play.

Eighth grader Zach Simpson lined up as tight end. His job was to block the biggest athlete on the other team. After the snap, Zach launched into his opponent, and in the process, forced the knuckles on his left hand to bend backwards and touch his arm, causing a distal radius fracture in his forearm.

“It started hurting, but I was thinking about the next play,” Zach said.

Zach’s mother, Carla Simpson, said she knew immediately by the way he held his arm that he was hurt. She waited with her husband, David, in the stands while the team’s trainer examined her son.

The trainer told them the arm was likely broken. West Tennessee Bone & Joint CEO Donna Klutts, a family friend, was at the game and helped them schedule an appointment.

They saw Dr. Harold Antwine the Monday following the game and discussed treatment. “I knew immediately I could talk to him, parent to parent of an athlete,” Carla said.

Zach needed a cast, which he said he was nervous about getting, but the staff at West Tennessee Bone & Joint put him at ease. “The people putting my cast on were really funny,” he said. “All the doctors took care of me, and we got quick service.”

Dr. Antwine recommended Zach stay in a cast for two months, and he would have to wait at least a month before returning to play – a determination to be made in a follow-up appointment.

“Zach is ultra competitive,” Carla said. “He felt like he let his team down, and he was miserable standing on the sideline.”

Carla scheduled his follow-up appointment a week early, and Dr. Antwine determined that his arm had healed enough to return to the field in the cast. “Zach was elated,” Carla said.

After eight weeks, the cast came off, and Zach began playing basketball soon after. He’s playing baseball now that it is spring. His arm is fine. “It’s all good to go,” he said.

Carla said her son received top-of-the-line treatment at West Tennessee Bone & Joint.

“At no point was anything not covered,” she said. “We never sacrificed knowing that he was going to be OK. We always knew that his health and recovery were the top concern.”