When he walked out onto his high school’s baseball field for the first practice of his sophomore year, Ryne didn’t know that it would be his last. His arm felt sore each time he threw a ball, but he thought he was just warming up for the season. Then he heard a loud, unnatural “pop” when he threw a ball in from centerfield.
Ryne visited several doctor’s offices about his shoulder, but none were able to diagnose the problem. His injury kept him from playing in the outfield, but Ryne still made it to the plate as a designated hitter. Though he was still part of the team, he wasn’t able to play to his full potential.
He dealt with the pain for more than a year before a doctor was able to identify the problem.
“I tore the muscle and nerve that connects my shoulder blade to my rib cage,” he said. “I had been living with that injury for over a year and it was very painful.”
Ryne’s doctor used a tendon allograft, recovered from a donor, to repair his damaged shoulder.
“Once I had the surgery, I felt so much better. My doctor was worried about my pain level, but immediately I thought the pain was much more manageable than before the surgery.”
His surgery and recovery time kept Ryne from playing baseball during his senior year, but he is grateful to be pain-free and have full use of his arm.
“I’m pretty much back to normal,” he said. “Prior to surgery I couldn’t even raise my arm. I’m happy with where I am now.”
Receiving donated tissue made Ryne pause and think about donation. He was generally familiar with the idea but never expected to need a transplant.
“I thought it was pretty wonderful that someone would be willing to donate themselves to someone else,” Ryne said. “The ability to take that tissue and make it work in my body was amazing. It really made my family think about it more and how the decision to be a donor can impact other people.”