By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: July 2012
George Dudasko’s goal was to become physically able to resume duties as a Division II umpire. After two successful knee replacements by Dr. LaButti, George is back on the diamond.
George Dudasko always had a passion for baseball. As a young adult, he umpired little league games and then graduated up the ranks to become a Division II college baseball umpire. Because of pain in both knees and resulting physical limitations, George gave up umpiring 15 years ago.
In 2006, George began researching knee replacement surgery. He visited with several sports contacts and then read an article about knee replacement surgeries performed by Dr. Ronald S. LaButti. He made an appointment with the doctor in 2007. After evaluation,
Dr. LaButti recommended replacement surgery for both of George’s knees. His right knee was the worst, having been bone-on-bone for seven years. Dr. LaButti told George, “Let me know when the pain becomes unbearable and when you can make time for the surgery and recommended recovery period.”
George was born bowlegged, his right leg being the worse of the two. He loved sports and had participated in football, wrestling, and baseball since youth. “The knee pains became constant and more intense. It was sheer agony climbing stairs,” said George. “Even crossing a busy street, I had to carefully plan ahead, calculating the flow of traffic because my walking pace had become very slow and agonizing. I couldn’t even sit naturally because of the intense pain.”
As a project engineer and always on the go, George found it difficult planning a time convenient for surgery and rehabilitation. However, while in transit between job functions, George was able to schedule surgery with Dr. LaButti to replace his right knee in June of 2010. Dr. LaButti asked George what his goals and expectations were following surgery and without hesitation George responded, “To again be able to umpire at the Division II level.”
Surgery on George’s right knee went extremely well. He did home therapy for four weeks and outpatient therapy for another four weeks. At the first meeting with his assigned therapist, George was asked again what he expected to be doing after rehab. After relating his umpiring goal, his therapist did her homework by watching baseball games on TV to assess the physical requirements of umpires. She then custom tailored a rehabilitation program for George. “Therapy sessions were painful,” he said, “but at the conclusion of each one, I felt great seeing the progress I was making.” After only six weeks following surgery, George was released to go back to work.
George had his second knee replacement surgery on his left knee in September, 2010. An interesting sidebar from his surgeries: Dr. LaButti straightened both legs during surgery. After the right leg was corrected, it was one-half inch longer than the left, and George was fitted with a lift for his left shoe. When the left knee was replaced, that leg was also straightened and made equal in length to the right leg. Having walked “duck footed” for most of his life, both of George’s feet now point forward and he is no longer bowlegged. He is also one-half inch taller than he has ever been in his life!
In less than six months after his second knee surgery, George was again umpiring Division II baseball. Last year, he umpired over 300 games in the Midwest and Florida. In March of this year, he headed back to Florida for two weeks of umpiring during college baseball spring training. To learn more about Dr. LaButti, visit www.hipandkneedoc.com.
For more information, contact
6585 S. Yale, Ste. 200Tulsa, OK 74136
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.