Winning the Gold

In the late summer of 2017, 63-year-old Dana Potts crossed the finish line of the 400-meter Illinois Senior Games State Race, seven months following a muscle preserving hip replacement surgery with Dr. Richard A. Berger.

The Wealth Management Advisor based out of Hinsdale, Illinois has always lived an active lifestyle. Beginning in high school, Potts competed in track and field. It wasn’t until later in life, while assisting as a Middle School Track and Field Director, Potts realized it was time to get back into the game of running.

“To gain credibility with kids, you have to run with them instead of just standing there with a whistle,” said Potts.

Potts began training in early 2014 for the Illinois Senior Olympic Games, set in September.

The Senior Olympic Games is a sports event ranging from a state to worldwide competition, specifically devoted to adults over the age of 50.

To his surprise, Potts won a gold medal for the 800-meter state race, advancing him to the national level and placing him within the top 10 competitors in the nation.

In his second consecutive year of sport, at the 2015 State Games, he went on to win two gold medals while breaking the 400-meter all-time record. Once again, as thousands of fans cheered him on, he found himself running amongst the top 10 challengers at the National Games in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“This was the largest venue and crowd I’ve ever experienced for a track. I had no idea it was going to be of this magnitude,” said Potts, “It was an honor and thrill to represent the state of Illinois.”

Later that year, Potts was playing a game of basketball with his daughter when an unusual pain generated in his left hip. He initially assumed the discomfort developed from excessive training, but as the pain worsened, Potts sought medical attention.

The cartilage in his left hip had deteriorated considerably and it was concluded hip replacement surgery was the sole solution to living pain-free.

New to undergoing major surgery, Potts was toying with the idea that it may be the end of his running career.

Hopeful for an alternative, he visited multiple well-renowned surgeons, repeatedly being told he would never run again.

Fortunately, he then discovered Dr. Berger, an assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Berger pioneered the muscle preserving anterior outpatient hip replacement surgery, allowing the preservation of the muscles, tendons and ligaments throughout the operation. Berger’s patients not only leave the hospital the same day of surgery, they recover at a rapid rate with less pain, leading to incredible long-term results.

He performed his first one-of-a-kind minimally invasive outpatient hip replacement surgery in 2001. Since, thousands of his patients have returned to enjoying a variety of physical activities they never deemed possible.

When Potts met Berger, he asked, “Will I be able to run again?”

“Why wouldn’t you?” Berger quickly replied; knowing that by preserving Pott’s muscles from damage, there was no reason why he couldn’t run again.

In December of 2016, Potts underwent the minimally invasive outpatient hip replacement surgery. Though he expected a fast recovery, his post-operative expectations were well exceeded. After surgery, Potts completed the following:

  • Week One — Went back to work.
  • Week Two — Walked on his treadmill.
  • Week Four — Played a game of basketball.
  • Three Months —Semi-sprinted.
  • Six Months —Trained for the 2017 Senior Olympic Games.

Potts’ hip replacement was undoubtedly a tremendous success. So much so, by late 2017, he won gold medals in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races at the Illinois Senior State Meet.

“I felt very confident in my chances of winning. This surgery gave me rebirth and renewal to take my life back into my own hands” said Potts.

As of 2019, Potts has retired from competitive running, but continues to maintain an active lifestyle with his new hip; playing full-court basketball and running recreationally several days a week.

Pleased with the outcome of Pott’s surgical results, Berger states:

“If you’re suffering from arthritis, you don’t need to endure the pain. Instead you can have the surgery and take your life back quickly.”