Shawn Meschke is competing in the 9.0 Mixed National Championships just nine weeks after hip-replacement surgery
© Andrew Ong
By Matt Birch, special to USTA.com
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Shawn Meschke had a full hip replacement on Sept. 10 and was told that he would not be able to play tennis again for six months to a year. However, he is competing at this weekend’s USTA Adult League 9.0 Mixed National Championships at the Hilton El Conquistador Resort just nine weeks after the surgery.
After playing in pain for a while, he visited a doctor last March, who discovered that Meschke had no tissue between his hip and its socket and that the replacement would be necessary. He said that he attributes this to over 25 years of playing on hard tennis courts, as well as playing softball and basketball for 20 years.
"When I first heard that I needed the hip replacement, it took about three days to sink in," he said. "My dad had a hip replacement when he was 66 years old. I’m only 41 and felt like I was too young to need that type of procedure."
Meschke wanted to be able to compete with his Northern Section team, which is from the Twin Cities in Minnesota at this weekend’s tournament, and worked out hard before and after having the surgery to try to come back. He felt that working out prior to the surgery would help speed up the recovery process afterwards. He was back on the tennis courts, practicing just six weeks after the surgery.
He underwent the procedure at Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minn., and now has a titanium hip with stainless-steel coating.
Meschke’s teammates also wanted him to be able to compete with them and were inspirational in helping with his speedy recovery.
"They inspired me to keep therapy going," he said. "They all wanted me to come back."
Team captain Greg Garritty said that it is very inspiring for Meschke to want to be in Tucson competing with the team. He also attributes his quick recovery to him being in great shape and advances in medicine.
The Northern team’s name is the Court Jesters and is a very positive and fun group of people. Garritty explained that the team’s nickname for Meschke is Johnny Bravo because he is in great shape and has blond hair.
Meschke had two meetings with doctors prior to Nationals, where X-rays and muscle tests were conducted in order for him to be cleared to compete this weekend.
Although he may not be back to playing his best tennis, it is quite amazing to be competing at the National Championships just nine weeks after having major surgery.