As Quad City area educators and students head back to school, the fall rite is also a time for looking forward to a new year of experiences and goals.
For Moline High School teacher and assistant wrestling coach, Bill Carlough, his own goals go well beyond the academic calendar and extend to his powerlifting career at the world level.
Those who say age is just a number need look no further than Bill, who at 56, continues to compete above and beyond his years. “I’ve been lifting and wrestling all my life, but powerlifting is my passion.”
His surgeon puts it more bluntly.
“When he first came in and saw me, he told me he ‘liked to lift.’ But he is performing at an elite level for his age group.”“He’s pretty much built like a superhuman,” says Sports Medicine Physician, Dr. Waqas Hussain, ORA Orthopedics.
Since 2013, Dr. Hussain has been treating Bill over the course of 7 major injuries, 4 of which resulted in surgeries, including a torn bicep tendon, as well as rotator cuff and labrum tears on both shoulders.
“I know that my injuries are due both to my age and because I like to push beyond my limits.”
What Bill means by “pushing limits” goes beyond typical human strength. He competes in both world and national powerlifting championships in the Masters division.
His personal record: hitting a 722-pound squat as well as bench-pressing 529 pounds (even after his ORA shoulder surgeries).
He’s also lifted 551 pounds in the deadlift.
“It’s fun to be competitive at something. Even at work, the wrestling team at Moline High School motivates me so much. I love working with students and enjoy their successes,” says Bill.
“At ORA’s Sports Medicine practice, our primary goal is whatever is important to our patients,” adds Dr. Hussain.
“We lay out the options to get our athletes back to their performance level. I know powerlifting is a big part of Bill’s life. If I told him he couldn’t do it, it would be devastating.
“We always take the most conservative approach because it’s the best way to heal. And, with new minimally invasive surgical techniques, smaller incisions allow patients to get back to the sports they enjoy as quickly and safely as possible.”
ORA’s philosophy and experience allows mid-life athletes like Bill to continue to perform at extreme levels.
“Age is only a number,” Dr. Hussain adds. “We want to treat them with their interests in mind.
“I have lots of patients in their 70’s who jog consistently and bike long distances. It’s a testament to Bill that he can do what he does at his age. He’s motivated. He’s one of a kind.”
“The fact that I can get on a platform after each surgery is a testament to the quality of work he does,” Bill says.
“Dr. Hussain understands my goals to compete and always lays out the pros and cons. I don’t know how long this is going to last, so I just plug away. I still look forward to the years I have left in teaching — and that gives me a lot satisfaction.”