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Retired Moline Athlete, Coach Promotes Lifelong Fitness

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“If You Don’t Use it, You Lose it”

Mike Owens played basketball for the Bradley Braves.
Mike Owens played basketball for the Bradley Braves.

Interest in sports reaches a fever pitch in August with the Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro and the John Deere Classic here in the Quad Cities.

But staying strong is not only for the young, elite athlete. Just ask Mike Owens, 78, Moline.

In a life spanning nearly 8 decades, Mike has played amateur sports, competed at the professional level, and coached or led athletic high school departments for most of those years.

“I have always liked to sweat,” he says.

And in his career, Mike has sweated through some well-known team jerseys.

As a high school standout, he played basketball and baseball as a Galesburg Silver Streak. After graduation, he played both sports for the Bradley Braves in Peoria. Following his college career, he played for the Pittsburg Pirates farm team. After professional baseball, he coached at several suburban Peoria and Chicago high schools, and then coached at Northwestern University before returning to western Illinois to coach at Galesburg and lead Moline High School’s Athletic Department.

Mike retired in 2000. “I’ve told my students and my own kids, the key to a long life is an active one. You can start right now, no matter what your age.”

Mike keeps fit by playing golf 2-3 times a week at Oakwood Country Club, but a lifetime of activity does come with pain and injury.

Knee surgeries, rotator cuff repair, arthroscopic shoulder surgery, hip replacement

“I’ve had 4 knee surgeries, both rotator cuffs repaired, arthroscopic surgery on my left shoulder for a torn bicep tendon, as well as a hip replacement,” Owens says.

Dr. Edward Connolly, ORA Orthopedics
Dr. Edward Connolly, ORA Orthopedics

He’s convinced that Quad City ORA Orthopedics surgeon, Dr. Edward Connolly, “keeps me wired together!”

“Mike is a great example of how strong and fit seniors can be if they keep moving,” affirms Dr. Connolly.

“Advancements in orthopedics have really benefitted his generation. Mike is great. He’s doing all the right things. He’s a good example of what good health and successful orthopedics can do.

“We’ve come a long way in our field, and we keep getting better at it,” Dr. Connolly continues.

“New orthopedic implants are designed of technologically durable material that lasts much longer. Our surgical techniques involve smaller, muscle-sparing incisions that help our patients get home sooner. Our entire goal is for seniors who undergo orthopedic surgery and rehabilitate safely to resume their favorite activities and lifestyle for decades thereafter.”

Dr. Connolly says he sees patients in their ‘90s.

“Seniors have tremendous potential to lead long, active lives. Patients like Mike take care of themselves. As we age, we lose muscle strength and bone mass at a quicker rate, especially in the legs. We want to see all seniors keep their weight down and maintain bone strength. Weight bearing exercise and muscle strengthening promotes bigger bone mass, which can prevent osteoporosis and catastrophic falls. Regular activity is key. We all want to be able to enjoy our families and lift our kids and grandkids for many years to come.”

Mike’s philosophy of fitness, despite numerous injuries and pain, is what keeps him living long and staying strong.

“Even for retirees, my advice is ‘don’t worry.’ There will be pain in your life but it’s worth it. I always feel better after a workout. Going to ORA over the years, they’ve encouraged me to keep doing what I want to do, and the medical advancements have kept me active. The fact is, if you don’t use it, you lose it!”