AGH Patient wins USA Triathlon Championship after Hip Fracture Repair
When 67-year-old David McNeely was struck by a car and sustained a fractured
hip while cycling in Fenwick Island on July 4th weekend in 2009, his first
reaction was to get up and attempt to walk his mangled bike the six blocks
home. Although he eventually conceded to the paramedics’ wishes
and took a trip to Atlantic General’s emergency room, his tenacity
and unwillingness to give in to human frailty have continued.
He had to miss the International Triathlon Union’s 2009 World Championship
he was training for when he had the accident, but McNeely was determined
to get back in the saddle – of his bike, that is – and train
again. That’s just what he did, garnering a very close third place
finish for his age group in the 2010 World Championship in Budapest, Hungary,
after being granted an exception for not being able to compete in the
national qualifier. Two weeks later he placed first in the 2010 USA National
Age Group Championship in Tuscaloosa.
When he arrived at Atlantic General that July in 2009, McNeely, a radiologist
from Glen Arm, Md., wanted to see the x-rays to determine the extent of
the damage himself. “Everything is electronic these days and I couldn’t
get close enough to the screen to see anything. So, I decided to lay back
and be a patient, which was probably the best thing anyway,” he said.
McNeely briefly considered returning to the Baltimore area to have his
hip repaired at the hospital with which he is affiliated, but decided
to stay at AGH after meeting Dr. Eric Bontempo, one of the orthopedic
surgeons in Atlantic General’s Center for Joint Surgery.
“I could tell he was an energetic guy, and I was impressed,”
McNeely said. “So, I decided to stay down at AGH.
I thank Eric [Bontempo] for doing the repair, and Bill in physical therapy.
The nursing staff was very supportive and caring, and everything went
He was already plotting his return to a competitive triathlete’s
training regimen of running, swimming and cycling during his week-long
stay at the hospital.
“I thought I was in pretty good shape for an old geezer,”
McNeely said, “so I took it on as a science project [to see if I
could compete again]. Dr. Bontempo probably thought it was idle chatter.”
A week and a half after surgery McNeely began swimming three or four times
a week and progressed to exercising on an elliptical machine and taking
spin classes at his local gym at night. Running came later upon approval
from a local orthopedist. He has been going strong ever since, sending
his impressive race results to Dr. Bontempo along with a note of thanks.
McNeely had been competing on the U.S. national team in the age-group
category for 12 years prior to his accident. He is already planning his
trip to Beijing for the 2011 World Championship. Best of luck, Dr. McNeely.