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Orthopedic Patient Stories

Regaining Mobility

Volunteer firefighter is back in action after injury.

Roman Coffman by firetruck

Performing basic duties as a volunteer firefighter for the Lincoln Fire Protection District was impossible for Roman Coffman after he injured his right shoulder. 

The Mattoon native’s story starts when he attended a firefighter conference in Indianapolis in April 2022. While there, Roman rented an electric scooter to ride around the city. “I was riding at its top speed,” he explained. “The brakes were opposite that of a bicycle, so I pressed the brake thinking it was the back brake, and I flew over the handlebar.”

Roman landed very hard on his right shoulder and also scraped his face. Because the pain was immense, he decided to visit the Emergency Room—after driving all the way back to Coles County. “This is my hometown, and Sarah Bush Lincoln has always been good to me, so I drove the distance back here,” he said.

The SBL Emergency Department (ED) staff treated Roman, putting his right arm in a sling. He was then referred to SBL Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Surgeon Jeremy Stevens, MD. Just a few weeks after visiting the ED, Dr. Stevens repaired the torn muscles in Roman’s shoulder. 

Dr. Stevens told Roman that he had one of the worst tears that he had seen. Because of it, Roman’s right arm remained in a sling for another eight weeks to heal. “I couldn’t lift anything with my right arm, so I sat at home doing basically nothing,” Roman said.

“I was very restricted with what I could do. Daily tasks were tough, like eating and brushing my teeth with my left hand. It was horrible trying to sleep because I had to stay on my back or on my left side,” he said. “It was boring.”

Roman’s relief from boredom and pain came when he began receiving care from the SBL Physical and Occupational Therapy staff. SBL Physical Therapist Regan Moomaw and Physical Therapist Assistant Matt Majors guided Roman through a plan to regain his strength. “They were really sympathetic, and they really cared about helping me recover,” Roman said. “They treated me like a friend—not like I was just a number.”

The treatment plan consisted of exercises that helped improve Roman’s range of motion and strength in his right arm and shoulder. Roman received physical therapy for approximately a year. He was so grateful to Moomaw and Majors for their help that he wrote a letter to SBL Rehabilitation Services Director Sarah Hopkins thanking the staff for their help.

“Thanks to (Moomaw’s and Majors’) commitment and skill, I have made significant progress in my recovery, and I am thrilled with how well I can move today,” Roman wrote. “Your team has been instrumental in helping me regain my mobility and quality of life, and for that, I am forever grateful.”

Roman is also thankful for the care that Dr. Stevens provided through the surgery. “He explained everything very clearly so that I could understand everything,” he explained. “The whole orthopedic staff was terrific.”

Roman is working to get his right arm and shoulder a bit stronger—so it’s equivalent to his left. Lifting things over his head is slightly difficult, but he can easily perform his other firefighter duties. Best of all, this thrill-seeker no longer has to sit at home and do everything with his left hand.

For more information about SBL Bonutti Clinic, call 217 342-3400 or SBL Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Mattoon at 217 238-3435.