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Robert Carmichael – Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery Success Story

No longer sidelined

Methodist Richardson helped Robert Carmichael get back to the game he loves after a shoulder injury


With help from Methodist Richardson’s orthopedics and physical therapy departments, Robert Carmichael is cleared to play soccer again.

Robert Carmichael’s schedule and personality don’t lend well to injury. So it was a learning experience when the active, 29-year-old local high school soccer coach sustained a torn labrum playing in a North Texas Premier Soccer Association game in November 2012.

“I pride myself on playing physically,” Carmichael says. “The day I was injured, an opposing player pushed me down, and as I was falling, I braced myself with my forearm to attempt to launch myself up off the ground. Instead, my forearm slid underneath me, and I felt my shoulder slide out of its socket.”

At Methodist Richardson Medical Center’s emergency department, the team stabilized his arm and arranged an appointment with Christopher Hanssen, MD, independently practicing orthopedist on the hospital’s medical staff.

Determined to heal quickly

The labrum is a type of cartilage found in the shoulder joint that helps keep the arm bone in the shoulder socket, and in Carmichael’s case, surgery was needed to repair it. On Nov. 16, Dr. Hanssen performed the successful arthroscopic procedure — which required only a few tiny incisions — and the next day, Carmichael taught Saturday school. A week later, he fully enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner — albeit eating with one arm.

In early January, the sling came off and physical therapy began.

“Physical therapy was necessary for Robert to optimize his recovery and ultimate outcome,” Dr. Hanssen says. “I considered Robert’s activity level and personality when developing a rehabilitation plan for him. Motivated patients like him are the most fun to work with, but I wanted to make sure he didn’t try to rush the healing process.”

Carmichael says Dr. Hanssen’s approach to his care has made the process easier.

“Dr. Hanssen is very straightforward and practical,” Carmichael says. “He understood my personality and knew that I had a difficult time being injured and taking it easy.

“He also let me know he likes soccer and follows the game. I’ve enjoyed his sense of humor and appreciate the effort he’s made to interact with me on a more personal level.”

Back in the game

While in rehab, Carmichael kept busy coaching, fixing up his house, playing video games, and spending time with friends. However, he was itching to return to the game he loves and has played since he was 6 years old.

“Dr. Hanssen cleared me to return to action at the end of March,” Carmichael says. “I followed his orders, but I could hardly wait to get back out there.”

From the summer 2013 edition of Shine magazine.