When Howie Lipschultz begins his next baseball season, he's going to be rounding the bases without the help of a pinch runner. The 78-year-old who has been playing baseball since he was 5, had a knee replacement earlier this summer. After receiving physical therapy at Radford Green rehabilitation and skilled nursing community of Sedgebrook, Lipschultz is ready to score again.
"When I say I've been playing baseball, I mean organized baseball," the resident of Lincolnshire stressed. Lipschultz hasn't missed a season in 73 years. He's now a member of a men's senior softball league in suburban Arlington Heights, and one in West Palm Beach, Florida where he vacations over the winter. The teams, he said are for males ages 55 and older. Howie estimates the average age to be about 60, and the oldest player to be 82. "That's why I had my knee fixed, so that I can still be playing into my eighties," he said.
The rules of the leagues dictate that the batter needs to make it to first base on his own. After that he can keep running as able, or use a pinch runner to finish up the bases. Howie found that because of his sore knee, he wasn't scoring to his satisfaction. "I'm a pretty good player. I had 18 home runs last year but they turned into doubles because I couldn't run all of the bases. They would have been home runs if I could have made it all of the way," he said.
Howie had knee replacement surgery on July 2nd and moved to Radford Green for rehabilitation as soon as he was discharged from the hospital. "Their physical therapy was fantastic," he said. "They did a great job for me."
Howie had checked out a number of rehabilitation facilities prior to his surgery. He first visited Radford Green largely because of its location, but was sold by the facility. "It's nicer than any place I'd ever seen. They're all single private rooms. I'm on Medicare and was afraid that I'd have to share a room," he said. "It's very modern and nice and clean. It's cheery, not depressing." Howie spent 18 days with in-patient rehabilitation, followed by six weeks in out-patient rehabilitation, also at Radford Green. "Those people were remarkable there too," he said.
Two months after knee replacement surgery, Howie said he's doing great. "I'm walking without a cane. I'm not quite back to normal yet, that could take another several months, but I'm planning on playing on the winter baseball league," he said. "People call me the Bionic Man."
Radford Green rehabilitation and skilled nursing community at Sedgebrook, received a 5-Star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the exceptional care they provide. For more information, call 847-901-3319. Sedgebrook is owned by Senior Care Development and managed by Life Care Services. For additional information, visit www.welcometosedgebrook.com.