McFarland Clinic

Kyven Gadson's Story - From Shoulder Surgery to the Olympic Trials

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December 15, 2015

Kyven Gadson has a decorated wrestling career beginning with back-to-back state championship wins in 2009 & 2010 wrestling for Waterloo East High School, three Big XII titles and culminating in 2015 as the NCAA champion at 197 pounds while wrestling at Iowa State University. 

Wrestling is a sport that tests the limits of the body. Kyven’s successes can be attributed to his strength of mind and body. While wrestling at ISU, Kyven suffered two devastating shoulder injuries that put wrestling on hold twice. His dedication to his goals and rehabilitation helped him come back from injury and achieve national success.

At the end of the 2011 wrestling season, Kyven suffered a labral tear with a SLAP lesion in his right shoulder. 

“The labrum is a ring of firm tissue around the shoulder socket that helps stabilize the shoulder and helps keep the arm bone in the shoulder socket,” says Peter Buck, MD, McFarland Clinic Orthopedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine physician. “A labral tear with a SLAP lesion is where the long head of the biceps muscle tears where it attaches on the edge of the joint.”

Kyven’s right shoulder was repaired and reconstructed by Dr. Buck in May 2011. Following his rehabilitation Kyven re-joined the Cyclones in fall 2011 only to tear his left shoulder labrum in December during his first competition match. This too required extensive reconstructive surgery. 

With a joint as complex as the shoulder there are many things that can go wrong after surgery. The patient may experience pain, stiffness, weakness or instability.

“Wrestlers put extreme pressure on the shoulder joints,” says Dr. Buck. “With injuries in both shoulders there was no way to favor either as he returned to the mat.”

“Advancements in arthroscopic surgery allow surgeons to repair highly complex shoulder injuries through two small incisions. With less invasive surgery post-operative physical therapy can begin sooner and with less pain,” says Dr. Buck. 

After a full year of rehabilitation Kyven returned to the Cyclone wrestling team with more determination than ever - and it paid off with a national championship title. 

Kyven is pursuing a masters degree with the goal of becoming an Athletic Director.

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