From the Patient: Michael Magochy

Michael Magochy has always been an athlete – competition is in his nature. But when a life-altering injury put his athletic career on pause, Michael turned to Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee to get him back on his feet.

As a Middle Tennessee native, Michael grew up playing football through high school and honed his skills to continue on at the collegiate level, ultimately joining the team at Murray State University.

However, in 2018, with the constant demand of practice and strength training, Michael eventually suffered a herniated disk and was forced to give up playing the sport he loved.

Determined to stay active, Michael pushed through the pain, utilized epidural injections and took up running with a long-term goal of competing in marathons.  In 2019, Michael finally saw his hard work pay off when he was able to compete in his first half marathon.

But the pain persisted. By 2022, Michael could not even walk 10 yards without the need to take a break. Unfortunately, marathon training would have to wait.

“Not being able to walk changes your whole life,” said Michael. “I went from playing football to not being able to go to work or even help my wife around the house.”

Michael knew something had to change.

“Growing up here, I had always heard such positive things about Bone and Joint Institute,” he said. “So, I decided to get a second opinion.”

Michael was evaluated by Dr. Casey Davidson, orthopaedic spine surgeon at Bone and Joint Institute, who confirmed that the epidural injections were no longer managing the pain caused by the herniated disk.

Surgery was the logical next step, and, in February 2022, Dr. Davidson performed a microdiscectomy to permanently alleviate Michael’s severe back pain. This surgery works to eliminate pain by freeing compressed nerves caused by herniated disks in the spine.

“Shortly after surgery, I was able to stand up, and the pain I had before was completely gone,” said Michael. “I was walking the next day – it was truly life-changing.”

Michael started his road to recovery by walking as much as possible, stretching his back and hamstrings and staying positive. Within a few months he was cleared to train again.

“When I was first cleared to train after surgery, I was scared to death that I would reinjure my back somehow,” said Michael. “But I knew I couldn’t live my life like that, I had to get back to what I loved doing.”

Four years after his injury, Michael was finally able to continue his goal of long-distance competitive running. By fall 2023, Michael had not only achieved his goal, he had exceeded it by completing two half marathons, an Ironman 70.3 and multiple other triathlons. 

Michael credits Dr. Davidson and the Bone and Joint Institute’s team of providers with his ability to finally achieve his goals.

“I had a phenomenal experience with Dr. Davidson,” said Michael. “Even from the beginning, he helped me understand every aspect of the surgery and made me as comfortable as possible.”

Now 25 years old and pain-free, Michael has long-term plans to stay active and competitive with his renewed mobility. Only this time around, he’s trading the cleats for running shoes.