Don Gingery's Story

Local resident wins pro-am dance competition after double-knee replacement

Others go for walks or join a gym to stay in shape. Don Gingery took up ballroom dancing. He equates it to jogging or swimming, but over the past five years dancing has evolved from fitness activity to passion for the West Fenwick resident.

Taking dance lessons wasn’t enough to satisfy Don so he began dancing competitively and eventually set his sights on the World ProAm DanceSport Series championship in 2017.

Winning is based upon accumulation of points during a series of dance contests held throughout the year, with up to 15 dances performed at each contest. Already struggling with arthritis in both knees, Don didn’t win that year.

“It got to the point that I couldn’t do a whole contest anymore,” he said. “There were too many tricks to go through – balms, aspirin, massage, ice.”

He had already received a series of cortisone injections and had fluid drained from the knees. Because he was strong and fit, a bilateral replacement to take care of both knees at once was the next step.

“I didn’t want to go through six months of recovery, which is how long it would take if I had one knee done at a time,” he said.

When selecting a surgeon, quality was important to Don, as was convenience. Dr. Thomas Beck and the Center for Joint Surgery at Atlantic General Hospital satisfied both criteria. There would be little travel time for pre and post-op appointments or the surgery itself, and he noted how frequently Dr. Beck performs knee replacements.”

“He has a good track record,” Don said.

Don scheduled his surgery for the summer of 2018. In less than three months, he had returned to dancing. In less than six months, he was named the Top Male Student in the 2018 World ProAm DanceSport Series. That’s 18 contests totaling 120 dances.

But, he’s not surprised at how quickly he bounced back.

“Football players go back, soccer players go back. I figured I could too,” Don said.

He had a great team to help him. At 67, Don is hoping for a repeat for the 2019 World ProAm.

For more information about the Center for Joint Surgery at Atlantic General Hospital, call 410-641-9189.