Mark’s Story: No Time Lost On the Golf Course

Mark Grunkemeyer, 68, was on his typical 12- to 13-mile bicycle ride on a beautiful morning in late August when he suddenly found himself on the curb, on top of his bike, with a broken collarbone.

“I was riding downhill on a sidewalk when I saw a young gentleman walking a dog in my direction,” said Mark, a semi-retired owner of a local fertilizer and weed control company. “The dog was walking back and forth on his leash as I got closer to approaching the young man and dog. I tried to transition my bicycle from the sidewalk to the lawn to avoid the young gentleman and his dog. Unfortunately, that didn't go over so well.”

That’s when Mark lost control and went over the front of his bicycle. The dog walker immediately checked on Mark and called 911. The ambulance and a sheriff’s deputy arrived at the scene within minutes, and the EMS team asked Mark which hospital he would like to go to. Mark directed them to Miami Valley Hospital South, based on his excellent patient experience with the hospital a few years earlier for hand surgery.

Miami Valley Hospital South is a Level III Trauma Center, meaning the hospital has demonstrated the ability to provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, surgery, intensive care, and stabilization of injured patients.

Will I Have To Cancel My Golf Trip?

Once Mark was en route to the hospital, he called his wife of 46 years, Peggy, told her what had happened, and asked her to meet him at the emergency department. “My first thought was for my wife; she worries when I ride my bike,” he said. “But as an avid golf player, my second thought was, ‘Will I have to cancel my trip golf trip to Alabama?’”

Once Mark arrived at the emergency department, his blood pressure was very high: 180 over 110, potentially as a result of being startled by the bike accident. Mark estimated his pain level to be between five and six on a scale of 10. Laura Gottron, MD, emergency medicine physician, evaluated his injuries, ordered an X-ray and CT scan, and confirmed that Mark had fractured his left collarbone while breaking five ribs.

“Mark was a trooper. I offered him medication to subside the pain from the injury, but he declined. Since I knew he had fractured his left clavicle, I immediately referred him to one of our orthopedic surgeons. One of the many benefits we provide to our emergency and trauma patients is highly coordinated care with an extensive network of surgical specialists, including vascular, cardiothoracic, neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons, microvascular hand surgeons, and additional specialty services.”

Surgery Or No Surgery? He Let Golf Decide.

Jennifer Jerele, MD, presented Mark with two options for his left collarbone. “I asked Mark if he wanted to treat his left collarbone without surgery, which would require eight weeks of no lifting with his left arm, or proceed with surgery to fix his collarbone with a plate and screws,” said Dr. Jerele.

“Okay, we've got a small problem,” Mark recalled telling her. “I have a golf trip planned in six weeks, and I need to be swinging a golf club in five weeks.” Dr. Jerele responded, “Oh my goodness, I'm a golf addict, and so is my husband. One of the physical therapy activities you'll be able to do in four weeks is chipping and putting.” Mark replied: “Well, then we have a plan.”

Dr. Jerele performed an outpatient surgery on his left collarbone, installing a plate and nine screws across his collarbone to hold it together. Four weeks after his surgery, Mark resumed playing golf.  

No matter the traumatic injury, Premier Health emergency and trauma centers are equipped to handle a variety of traumatic injuries through a well-coordinated continuum of care. Premier Health’s trauma teams are in a constant state of readiness, with fully equipped operating rooms and staffed 24/7.

Headshot of Laura Gottron, MD

Laura Gottron, MD

View Profile

Contact Us

If you or a loved one needs emergency or trauma care, our teams of specially trained doctors and nurses are here to help. At Premier Heath, we quickly assess your condition and provide the care and treatment you need.

You can access emergency services at the following locations: