A summer of bowling and coaching awaits a Chesterfield man, following three surgeries at Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre and now he is encouraging people of all ages to join him on the green.
Andy Hoe, 64, had played sport at a competitive level all his life, including representing Rugby Union clubs wherever he lived. But a family pre-disposition to arthritis and years of punishment on the squash and badminton courts had taken their toll on his knees and hip.
“My wife and I have always enjoyed walking holidays, but increasingly a dull pain started to affect my hip. At first I thought it was just a strain, but the pain got worse. I took pain killers and I had steroid injections into the joint, but nothing really worked.
“My GP sent me to the Barlborough treatment centre, where an MRI revealed that the cartilage had completely worn away and bone was rubbing on bone.”
Mr Hoe, who was a project manager working in pharmaceuticals and engineering, underwent surgery and was impressed with the centre and the team. “I could not have asked for better; everyone was friendly and professional and Mr Toth, my consultant, worked with me to ensure the replacement joint was suitable for my needs and I found that very reassuring.”
Mr Toth discovered the pain Mr Hoe was experiencing in his knees was also caused by arthritis. Mr Hoe said: “My father has been plagued by arthritis in his joints and it has severely limited his mobility. The Barlborough team carried out arthroscopies on both my knees, using keyhole surgery to repair damaged cartilage and remove fragments from the joints.
“The results were great, I worked diligently at my physiotherapy exercises and I have no pain. While I know I may need further surgery in years to come, this will mean I am significantly older when that happens and, as I intend to be playing bowls into my 90s, that is a good thing.”
Mr Hoe, who has bowled for 40 years, plays and coaches at Wingerworth Bowls Club. He said: “Bowls is a fantastic, competitive game for all ages and abilities. We offer free trial sessions at the club every Sunday morning at 10am. I would recommend anyone who enjoys competitive sport or just relaxing and socialising, but who can’t keep up the pace on the court or pitch anymore, to join us and see what they think.”
Hospital director Steve Booker said: “Our consultants work with patients to ensure the operation they receive works for them, while our physiotherapists follow up with patients to help them gain the maximum benefit from their treatment. When patients like Mr Hoe work at their exercises, the results are usually impressive.
“Being competitive but suffering from some footballing injuries as I do, I am very tempted to join Mr Hoe for some training at the club off Allendale Road and Central Drive.”