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Eric Hunt's Remarkable Comeback: From Quadricep Tendon Rupture to Powerlifting

Defying Limits and Embracing Resilience: Eric Hunt's Journey from Tendon Rupture to Powerlifting Triumph

In April 2021, right before his 65th birthday, Eric Hunt faced an unexpected challenge that would test not only his physical strength but also his mental strength. As a two-time USAPL NC State Championships winner (1996 and 1998), Hunt is used to the physical wear and tear of powerlifting. Powerlifting competitions include the squat, bench press, and deadlift. His PRs (personal records) include a 530 lb. squat, 325 lb. bench press, and 600 lb. deadlift.

Retreating after Rupture of the Quad Tendon

After a vertical jump one day in the gym, Eric ruptured his right quadricep tendon. He wondered if he would ever lift heavy weights again.

A quadriceps tendon rupture is a break in the thick band (the tendon) that connects your thigh muscle to your kneecap. It's a serious injury often caused by sudden movements. When it happens, there may be a sharp pain, and it can be hard to straighten the leg or put weight on it. 

His journey back to the bench was made a reality thanks to the referral he received to OrthoCarolina Laurinburg and Dr. Julia Bulkeley from local urgent care.

After his surgery, Dr. Bulkeley reassured him that his right tendon would be just as strong as the left. This eased Eric's nerves and helped him believe he could get back to powerlifting. The first few weeks after surgery were tough and required a lot of assistance from his wife, Bobbie, just to get in and out of bed. He also attended rehab during this time which played a pivotal role in his early recovery.

Back to the Bench: Quad Tendon Rupture Recovery

By the end of the first year, Eric was back to squatting over 200 lbs and by the second year, he had decided he was fully ready to return to powerlifting. With the encouragement of his lifting partner, Stephen Brooks, Eric squatted 500 lbs. on the Smith Machine.

Eric competed in the USAPl NC state championships on March 23, 2024, at Dorton Arena in Raleigh. He won the first-place position in the 60-69 age, 198 lb class. Despite feeling that he didn't do his best, Eric managed to squat 365, bench 275, and deadlift 425.

Multi World Champion and Record holder Jennifer Thompson
Multi World Champion and Record holder Jennifer Thompson

This secured his qualification for the Nationals in Greenville, SC in July. Here he will squat 500 lbs., bench press 300 lbs., and deadlift 550 lb., for a total of 1350 lbs.

Eric is committed to continuing his lifting journey and feels grateful for being able to compete at such a high level after overcoming a significant injury. He firmly believes that the quality of care he received at OrthoCarolina played a major role in his full recovery.

When asked about his journey back to the bench, Eric stated: "My recovery has been a blessing to me, and I appreciate Dr. Bulkeley and everyone at OrthoCarolina for my treatment. I do not believe that I could have gotten better care anywhere else."

Finally, Full Power

As Eric Hunt prepares for the upcoming nationals of powerlifting, his story shows how he never gave up, worked hard, and had a strong spirit that helped him make a big comeback when things got their hardest.

Need Urgent Assistance for Acute Orthopedic Injuries?

As a reminder, OrthoCarolina Orthopedic Urgent Cares are located across North Carolina for your pop, sprain, strain, or breaks. What Eric experienced with his quad tendon rupture, was in fact a 'pop'. Find your local OrthoCarolina Orthopedic Urgent Care here.

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