NBA Hall of Fame basketball player and television analyst Bill Walton, whose chronic back problems were so difficult they changed his personality, will share his story of recovery during a visit to Chicago, April 25, 4:30 to 5:30 pm. Walton will speak to patients with chronic back and leg pain during a complimentary seminar on the second floor at the Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) building, 1611 W. Harrison St., Chicago. Reservations are being taken at 800-745-7099, on a first-come, first-served basis for those who are suffering from chronic back or leg pain and want to learn more about minimally invasive spine procedures. Seating is limited.
Walton, who is now pain-free, will be in Chicago to launch the Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) Minimally Invasive Spine Institute. He will speak about his chronic back and leg pain, and how a minimally invasive procedure changed his life. He hopes to encourage people who suffer from the daily challenges of living with a spine condition to seek help. The San Diego native is presently a spokesperson for The Better Way Back®, www.thebetterwayback.org, a patient support and advocacy program for back pain sufferers.
Opening to patients on April 25, the MOR Minimally Invasive Spine Institute will offer the most current minimally invasive procedures for patients with spinal disorders. These procedures are often referred to as "key hole" surgeries, which are operations performed through small incisions an inch long or less. During these procedures, physicians maneuver special instruments between the patient's muscles and push them aside to reach the spine. These minimally-invasive surgeries include cervical and lumbar spine procedures, including decompression, fusion and motion preservation options. The benefits are shorter hospitalizations, less post-operative pain, faster recovery, reduced blood loss, less soft tissue damage, less scarring and improved function.
Walton's back and leg pain became so debilitating that he was unable to walk, sit or drive a car. He had more than 36 orthopedic surgeries. The cumulative effect of fighting the pain changed his personality. Known for being affable and accommodating, Bill became withdrawn and sullen. While he felt alone in his struggle, his story is very similar to the over 10 million people who suffer from severe back pain, the vast majority of whom feel isolated, confused and unsure how to manage the condition. Back pain, while common, is often overlooked. It is generally not life threatening, but to those who are afflicted, it is very real, very severe and consumes their lives.
Bill Walton achieved superstardom playing for John Wooden's powerhouse UCLA Bruins in the early '70s, winning three straight College Player of the Year Awards, while leading the Bruins to two Division I national titles. He then went on to become the first player drafted by the Portland Trailblazers in the 1974 NBA draft, and quickly led them to a championship. He also played for the San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics, and is one of only five NBA players to have led the league in blocked shots and rebounding in the same season. He was a league Most Valuable Player (MVP), won two NBA championships, and in 1993 he was fittingly inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
After retiring from basketball, Mr. Walton began a 21-year broadcasting career providing commentary for CBS Sports, ABC, ESPN, Fox and other sports media outlets.