Knowing What to Expect

Facing major surgery can be the end of a prosperous athletic season for some athletes. The need for a safe and complete recovery can take precious time away from practice and games. But for CSU-P student Ben Squier, knowing exactly what to expect when it came to a recent emergency medical operation calmed his nerves and helped get him back on the road to recovery.

“I have had two surgeries. My first was back in 2016 and was on my right shoulder,” said Ben. “I was scared and always feared major surgery as a career ender, always wondering if I would be able to play goalkeeper again or any position for that matter?”

Then Ben severely injured his left shoulder in March of 2021 requiring a return to the operating table.

Parkview Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rickland Likes has years of experience and success with Shoulder and Upper Arm Surgery. Born and raised in Colorado, Dr. Likes has been with Parkview Orthopedics since 2008 and himself a former athlete – playing golf and lacrosse in high school and college. He understands the complexities of athletic injuries and is dedicated to getting athletes back in play as soon as safe recovery and healing allows.

“Athletes are already in the mode of a daily work-out routine, so planning physical therapy sessions is something they understand,” said Dr. Likes. “Once the surgery is complete, we work closely with our patients to help them understand the correct sequence of recovery therapy. Sometimes athletes want to move faster than healing allows, which can lead to other injuries. Ben listened to his body and dedicated himself to a safe and complete recovery.”

“Dr. Likes took good care of me, and I was actually back in goal in no time! So having this second surgery on the other shoulder years later with the same doctor, I knew I was literally in good hands”, commented Ben. “He walked me through it both times, but knowing what would happen from prior experiences, I knew exactly what to expect.”

The rural community vibe of Pueblo appealed to Ben and his family, who moved to Southern Colorado years ago. Born in Northwood, Iowa (just minutes south of the Minnesota border), his family has always been drawn to small towns due to the close community connections and small schools. Family time is precious says Ben, “we keep the pastime of playing cards and eating dinner as a family. That has been a must from day one.”

Ben considers himself the athlete of the family. He started soccer at young age and picked up basketball in third grade and then added track in high school. He lists soccer as his main sport, but is always ready for anything such as basketball, ultimate frisbee, or just going on a run with friends.

Following the complex orthopedic surgery, Dr. Likes put Ben on a personalized recovery regimen to get the shoulder properly healed and ready for action. But stretches and weights are not the same as playing on the field.

“I am not one to sit out or on the sideline while my teammates work their hardest to make the team better,” remarked Ben. “Seeing others play really keeps you going and excited to get back to your team - who is almost always your second family. But honestly, it was ten times better when I got to get back into action.”

Ben is studying Athletic Training and will also soon be taking courses in EMT training to get his license. His goals are to finish EMT training and work in that profession while he works towards a Master of Science in Athletic Training.

Ben adds that he’s not done with sports yet. “I play in many soccer leagues and a few basketball leagues too. Every Sunday is ultimate frisbee day too. I’ve just got too much energy.”

To learn more about Parkview Orthopedic services, click here.