Mike Rice is an Ironman — on and off the race course. When a bike wreck caused by a collision with a car threatened to knock him out of the Ironman competition in 2011, he chose to persevere and push his body to the limit, ignoring serious pain to finish just six minutes off his personal best. However, his back pain was relentless, and he soon went to see a specialist at Norton Leatherman Spine Center. Rice had suffered a complete rupture of his L5-S1 intervertebral disc and required surgery.
“Mike was very limited in his activities when he first came to see me,” said Mladen Djurasovic, M.D., orthopaedic spine surgeon. “He was unable to train for his triathlons and was having difficulty doing his day-to-day work. His back condition was greatly interfering with his everyday life.”
Rice underwent an L5-S1 spinal fusion to repair the damage that he sustained as a result of his biking accident. It resulted in a beyond-average recovery.
“When you’re given a second chance, you definitely want to embrace it.” – Mike Rice
“Mike has had tremendous success,” Dr. Djurasovic said. “Improvement in symptoms and function are very common and what we would expect. Complete elimination of pain and ability to perform at the highest level athletically, such as he experienced, is beyond even what we hoped for.”
While Rice’s recovery is not the norm, patients undergoing or considering similar surgery should be encouraged by the fact that, when performed for proper indications, lumbar spine surgery significantly reduces pain and improves function and quality of life in at least 80 percent of patients, according to Dr. Djurasovic.
Norton Healthcare is making a name for itself in Louisville as a leader in sports health. Much of this growth in sports medicine has been driven by Ryan Krupp, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon and director of sports health for Norton Healthcare. Since joining Norton Healthcare in August 2008,
Dr. Krupp has made great strides in positioning it as the premier provider of sports-related medicine in the region. He leads Norton Healthcare initiatives to improve the care of athletes in Louisville and surrounding areas with programs such as injury prevention education, clinical research, Saturday Sports Injury Clinics, certified athletic trainer education, athletic event coverage and community partnerships.
“When you think of sports health, we want you to think of Norton Healthcare. We want to encourage people to get active and seek an overall sense of wellness.” – Ryan Krupp, M.D.,
Sponsoring regional sporting events and local sports teams helps promote an attitude of general wellness within the community. In addition to providing training and medical directors for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon, Norton Sports Health is a presenting sponsor and medical provider for Ironman Louisville and the official sports health provider for Bellarmine University, Spalding University and the Louisville Bats baseball team.
Norton Sports Health is working toward making lasting improvements in the community.
“We want to be involved in all aspects of sports health in the community,” Dr. Krupp said. “We want to build brand recognition as the sports health provider in Louisville.”