Pursue Your Athletic Goals At Any Age

With a little help from orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Eric Khetia, 82-year-old sprinter, John Buursema, is just starting to hit his competitive stride. Buursema’s story is confirmation that we can live a healthy active lifestyle at any age.

At Summit Orthopedics, we believe that age is just a number, and our patients prove us right repeatedly. When 82-year old track-and-field athlete John Buursema came to Summit Orthopedics to consult with Dr. Eric Khetia, he’d been told that a knee brace was the only option for his swollen knee. But Buursema wanted to continue to complete.

In his youth, Buursema was a competitive runner in his native Netherlands. A career as a consulting Navel architect for the shipbuilding industry brought him to the United States. When he reached his 70s, he took up competitive cycling, but a biking accident convinced him to turn in his bicycle for running shoes. “Of course, when you’re 77, you don’t go as fast as you thought you would,” he says. But being back on the track reignited his love for competitive running. He established a regime of running and strength training, and started competing as a sprinter.

After five years of competitive running, Buursema’s knee started to swell. He sought help from an orthopedist, and was told that a knee brace was the only treatment option for someone 81 years old. When his knee swelled again in 2009, Buursema sought a second opinion at Summit with Dr. Khetia, who told him, “If you want to compete, I’ll do my best to help you out.”

Dr. Khetia’s thorough evaluation of Buursema’s knee revealed that Buursema was suffering from a severe meniscus tear in his knee joint. After discussing surgical and non-surgical options, Buursema elected to undergo a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to repair the meniscus. His surgical outcome was everything Buursema hoped for. At the conclusion of the prescribed months of recovery, his knee pain had completely disappeared.

Today, at 86 vital years young, Buursema’s love of competitive racing has taken him to 100- and 200-meter dash events across the country. In 2012, he won two silver medals in his age group at the USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships. In 2013, he was ranked third in the nation for his age group in the 60-meter event.

Buursema’s remarkable story inspires runners of all ages, and was featured in the February 2014 issue of Mpls.St.Paul magazine. With the support of Dr. Khetia and the staff at Summit Orthopedics, Buursema continues to pursue and exceed his own personal athletic goals, reaping benefits in muscle, bone, and joint health along the way.

Buursema thrives on proving to himself what he can do: “There are a lot of people who tell me, ‘Well, you’re too old for that.’ I say, ‘Well not really.’ If you are in good shape, you can do it. I am not an exception…if you want to do it, do it.”

At Summit Orthopedics, we completely agree. We are here to assist each of our patients in reaching their own summits of healthy, active success, however they define them.

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  • Eric Khetia, M.D.

    “My goal is to lead an active, healthy life and to allow my patients to do the same. Restoring them to pre-injury levels of functioning and allowing them to pursue the activities they enjoy inspires me.”

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  • Heide Baker, DPT

    “Our bodies are designed for movement. Keep moving, focus on improving posture and reducing stress.”

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