Rain or shine, there’s not a lot that will keep Brenda Fritz from going out on a training run.
“I grew up playing competitive soccer plus I played in college,” said Fritz, a mother of three from the Green Bay area.
A lifelong athlete, Fritz says she got into long distance running after having her children. Her most recent definition of “fun” – participating in Half Ironman competitions – that’s a one point two mile swim, followed by 56 miles biking, ending with a 13.2 mile, half marathon run.
“It’s so fun to try and push yourself to the limits then go out there on the day and see what you can do,” Fritz explained.
But it was actually her hardcore dedication to training that amost took her out of the race for good after a snowboarding injury last February.
“My kids were going off the jumps and I decided, of course, I would continue going off thejumps,” Fritz said.
Coming down from the jump, though, Fritz injured her hip. Like many athletes, she pushed through the pain, making allowances for her injury, but continuing to train for another two months.
“It did not get any better not running, I was biking and swimming, then Icut back on biking altogether, I was just swimming,” Fritz recalled. “That’s when I knew I just needed to go in.”
Orthopedic surgeon at Aurora Baycare Medical Center, Dr. Jon Henry, says it’s a good thing she did.
“It’s critical, especially with an individual like Brenda because her hip problem encompassed more than one factor,” Henry explained. “If that worsens or propagates, it can really lead to a disastrous problem within the joint.”
Henry says Brenda’s problem involved a prior injury, along with structural anatomy issues in addition to a stress fracture from over training. He says the ability to get that whole diagnosis is key to the goal of a positive outcome.
“Aurora BayCare surrounded me with the team and the tools I needed to achieve that goal,” Henry said.
Henry says a patient’s motivation is also a big part of recovery and he gives credit where credit is due.
“Brenda is just an outstanding example of how someone can go through a treatment and recovery process and have an outstanding outcome,” said Henry.
As for Fritz, she has some advice for other athletes
“Listen to your body and seek professional help earlier rather than waiting,” she advised.
Fritz says after the treatment and physical therapy tools she received at Aurora BayCare, she feels better than ever.
“I would say I’m actually stronger now that I was prior to the injury,” Fritz said.
Fritz competed in her first Half Ironman ever just before the pandemic and she came in first place. Now that she’s on the mend, she’s already got three more scheduled. We’ll keep you posted on how she does.