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Local Veteran Recovers from Injury, Remembers Others Who Served

Watkinsville, Ga. (Nov. 11, 2020) – Each year on Veterans Day, local resident John Davis travels out to the Oconee County Veterans Park to remember others, like him, who served their country in the military. This year, however, looks a little different for Davis as he also recovers from surgery with the team at Piedmont Physicians Orthopedic Sports Medicine Athens.

Davis first enlisted in the military in 1988 when he was in his early 20’s, enlisting in the United States Air Force.

“I worked multiple airframes as an Aircraft Armament Systems specialist responsible for maintaining launch and release devices on aircraft, making sure that explosive devices were accurately delivered from planes,” said Davis, who grew up in Oconee County.

As a weapons team leader, Davis was an essential member of an aircraft’s support team, and during his time in the Air Force, he says he worked all over the world.

In the early 1990’s, he worked on aircrafts during Operation Desert Storm, a military operation that took place in Kuwait. Davis was deployed to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia five times.  He was also stationed in Okinawa, Japan and lived in Aviano, Italy for more than four years. Davis says he also spent time working at military bases all over the United States.

In 2008 – after 20 years and 12 days in the military – Davis hung his hat, retiring from his position with the Air Force, and moved back to his hometown in the Oconee County area. He now works as the general manager at ServiceMaster of Athens located in Watkinsville, Ga.

Since retiring, Davis says he’s enjoyed remembering those he worked with and those who served in other military services, and each Veterans Day in November is a special day for him to do so.

“People in our community pay tribute to me, but I like to pay tribute back as well – there are so many in our community who have served, and there are so many brave men and women who continue to serve,” he said.

Gearing up for his usual plans for the annual national holiday when Davis visits the Oconee County Veterans Park, he was working at home one day when something happened.

“I was moving something off of my truck and heard the loudest pop in the upper part of my forearm around my bicep,” Davis said. “The shock of the noise alone was scary, but then the pain started to set in.”

He immediately went to a nearby Urgent Care and was referred to the Piedmont Oconee Health Campus, which houses the Piedmont Physicians Orthopedic Sports Medicine Athens’s team of physicians.  

“My team quickly scheduled Mr. Davis for an X-ray and MRI to assess his injury,” said Eric Gordon, M.D., orthopedic surgeon with the Orthopedic Sports Medicine Athens practice. “The images revealed that he had a distal bicep tendon rupture, which is when the tendon tears from the forearm bone.”

Dr. Gordon added, “The bicep is responsible for helping bend the elbow and turn the forearm, like when you open a door or twist a screw driver, so a rupture, like the one Mr. Davis experienced, can result in weakness, pain and disfunction. Surgery is an excellent option to restore normal function.”

Early diagnosis and treatment are important to help restore early elbow and forearm function and prevent any lingering disfunction, according to Dr. Gordon.

Once they discovered the cause of his injury and pain, Dr. Gordon completed surgery to repair Davis’s tendon. After surgery, Davis quickly got into an accelerated rehabilitation program – which is also housed in the Piedmont Physicians Orthopedic Sports Medicine facility – and he was well on his way back to a full recovery.

“Dr. Gordon and his team were amazing to work with, helping me get back to normal in no time,” said Davis. “Given my injury, I’m very grateful that Dr. Gordon could see me so quickly to repair things and quickly got my arm and bicep working.”

Davis says he’s also thankful for the ability to return injury-free with no pain to the Oconee County Veterans Park this week, so he can honor his fellow veterans.

For more information about Piedmont Physicians Orthopedic Sports Medicine Athens or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gordon, visit piedmont.org/AthensOrthoSportsMed.

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