You Inspire The Best in Us.

With the many advances in care and treatments, today’s patients have more and more reasons to expect the best outcomes. Here are the incredible stories of our patients and their journeys. Click on a thumbnail and scroll down to view each story.

  • A Joint Effort
  • Running the Extra Mile
  • Back in Action and Pain Free
  • Getting Back to Normal
  • Reaching for the Goal
  • Shoulder 2 Shoulder
  • Moving Forward
  • Back in the Saddle
  • Kicker Writes His Own Comeback Story
  • Head Coach Gets an Assist from McLeod Orthopaedics
  • Scoring a New Hip
  • Back on the Approach and
    Hitting Her Mark
  • Breaking Free of the Cane
  • Back in the Swing of Things
  • A New Approach at Life
  • Making Memories in the Sand
  • Committed to Caring for Others
  • Back on the Beat
  • Living Free of Pain
  • Local Volunteer Recounts Her Excellent McLeod Health Experience
  • Enjoying Benefits of Treatment Closer to Home
  • A Step in the Right Direction
  • Under One Roof
  • HOPE for a Fast Recovery
  • Many Key Players, One Common Goal
  • Cruising To Recovery
  • Betty Board
    Our orthopedic surgeon gave her sure footing to get back to life
  • Edwin Branch
    Back in Full Swing
  • Lorenzo McFadden
    Every Second Counts
  • David “Shawn” Graham
    Enjoying Life Again
  • Wanda Blue
    A Return to Active Living
  • Cathy Oakley
    Thumbs Up for a Healthy Lifestyle
  • Will Williams
    In Excellent Hands

Running the Extra Mile

By Leslie A. Mikell

In the world of sports, resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment are the hallmarks of a true athlete. For Ohio native and Florence resident Rich Wideman, West Florence High School Cross Country and Track & Field Coach,

these qualities are integral to his role in shaping young athletes.

In his earlier years, Rich played and coached both soccer and wrestling, in addition to running and coaching track and cross country athletes. However, the years of running and athletics had taken its toll on his knees. Rich suffered meniscus tears more than 20 years ago, which required arthroscopic repair surgeries on both of his knees.

Over time, he maintained a very active lifestyle, yet his knees continued to deteriorate, causing increased pain. This affected his quality of life and eventually impacted his coaching, too. “I like to participate and train with my athletes as much as possible while they are at practice, but my knees were holding me back. I was in a lot of pain,” recalls Rich.

Rich knew that knee replacement was on the horizon. He sought advice first from Alex Holbrooks, McLeod Sports Medicine Athletic Trainer at West Florence High School. Alex suggested he meet with Dr. Chad Thurman at McLeod Orthopaedics, who had begun performing robotic-assisted knee replacements.

“During my first appointment, the staff took X-rays of my knees before I saw Dr. Thurman,” says Rich. “The results showed that my knees were ‘bone-on-bone,’ which meant I had very little cartilage left,” he adds.

“When Dr. Thurman came into the room, he sat down and said, ‘Look, before we start talking about anything else, I’m going to be honest with you. You are a candidate for total knee replacement.’ I appreciated that he did not beat around the bush and was very transparent with me,” Rich adds.

Then, Rich asked Dr. Thurman if he’d be willing to replace both of his knees during the same surgery, also called a bilateral total knee replacement.

“A close friend and fellow cross country coach who lives in the upstate and underwent this procedure inspired me to go for it,” says Rich.

“Bilateral knee replacement can be appropriate for a very specific type of patient. For someone in their early 50s like Rich, who is extremely active, lives a healthy lifestyle and has a strong support system at home, I was confident that his recovery and rehabilitation would be a success,” explains Dr. Thurman.

“It means so much for my patients that we can perform these life-changing procedures here in Florence, without them having to travel to a larger city away from home,” he continues.

Having bilateral knee replacement also meant Rich was only slowed down for one coaching season instead of two.

On June 29, 2022, Dr. Thurman performed bilateral robotic-assisted total knee replacement on Rich at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence. Three and a half weeks later, on July 25, he was back to work at West Florence.

“My students, Principal Matt Dowdell, the administration, Athletic Director Greg Johnson and my fellow teachers were incredibly supportive during my recovery,” says Rich.

For people considering a total knee replacement, Rich says commitment is key to a successful recovery.

“The first few days and weeks can be tough, but you have to do your physical therapy and rehabilitation work to help your body heal and adjust. Just like I tell my athletes: as with anything in life, whether it’s a workout, academic pursuits, sports, and even in marriage, you have to be committed to the process.”

“If you're dealing with that bone-onbone pain, don't wait. Don't hesitate. The sooner you get it done, the sooner your quality of life is restored, and it will all be worth it.”

Throughout his rehabilitation, Rich set a goal to run a 5K race by Thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving Day 2022, less than five months after his surgery, and with two brand new knees, Rich completed a Turkey Trot 5K road race with his family, running the entire distance.

Rich continues to run at least every other day, both on his own time and with his athletes at school.

“I’m very grateful for both Dr. Thurman and his Physician Assistant Whitney Suggs for how they helped me get my life back and keep moving forward,” says Rich.