Golfer finds healing within herself

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Imagine you’re in pain, and there’s something close to a miracle cure. However, you won’t find it in your medicine cabinet or on pharmacy shelves. What if we told you it’s right there inside your own body?

That’s what a KELOLAND woman is finding out, after an injury threatened to rob her of doing what she loves most. 

We’re all part of several clubs. 

“These are my seven and nine wood,” Joli Bruggeman said, pointing to her golf clubs. 

If we’re lucky, we’ll take a swing and find something we’re good at. 

“It’s the person who does the putting who makes it a good putter,” Bruggemen said.

For Bruggeman, that something is golf. 

Brady: “When was the last time you were on the course?”
Bruggeman: “Last night.”

No offense to her husband, but a round of nine or 18 may be her number one love. 

“I have to take my wedding ring off,” Bruggeman said. 

The Larchwood, Iowa, woman’s affection for the game runs deep. Her time on the links is actually a link to her past. 

“My dad was a golfer. My dad was a huge golfer,” Bruggeman said. “That was awesome, because he took us to lessons and he would let us drive the car and things like that.”

That’s why the pain she was feeling in her Achilles tendon hurt so much, because she had to face giving up golf. 

“It hurt like heck,” Bruggeman said. “I thought I was just going to have to live with it.” 

After her first surgery six years ago didn’t do the trick, Bruggeman went to Avera Health. That’s where she found Dr. Johathan Buchanan, an Avera Orthopedics Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician, and a treatment called Platelet-Rich plasma therapy. 

“I said, you know, I think I’m doomed. I’m doomed to be in pain. He goes, you’re never doomed,” Bruggeman said. 

Here’s how PRP injections work. Someone takes blood from Bruggeman, and then — to give you the shortest explanation possible — spins in it in the machine to separate the platelets from the rest of the stuff in there. Dr. Buchanan then injects a high concentration of her own platelets into Bruggeman. This is what helps her body regenerate her what’s damaged.

“So, in Joli, it was her Achilles. The tendon had a lot of injury, and it broke all the tendons and she had this small micro-tearing of the tendon. And I filled in that gap where the tendon used to be with the platelets and that brought in the stem cells and they turned into tendon cells, so now she has a more healthy tendon,” Buchanan said. 

“Everytime he did, it would just get a little better,” Bruggeman said. 

Three treatments later, Bruggeman is getting back in the game and feeling a lot less pain. 

“It’s just a freeing feeling. To be able to move again,” Bruggeman said. 

Dr. Buchanan may focus on healing the body, but he says PRP treatments are helping prevent patients from losing a big part of what’s good for the soul. 

“Movement is really the fountain of youth. It’s the source of health,” Buchanan said. 

On a bigger scale, as Avera expands its orthopedic reach and as the area continues to become a sports hub, Dr. Buchanan says PRP therapy will only continue to become more vital for athletes and beyond.

“People are going, hey, you know, LeBron James had it, maybe I should get it. Or Tiger Woods had it, maybe I should get it,” Buchanan said. 

In golf, it’s called a Mulligan, but you can only define Joli Bruggeman’s second chance with her first love as a lifesaver. 

“I can’t imagine just sitting. And so, to be able to golf and to walk my dog and go to the gym; do all those things…is wonderful,” Bruggeman said. 

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