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Six bones down

Six bones down

Freshman Shane McGuffin returns after infection in knee and lower back

After a spinal operation and staph infection as severe as freshman Shane McGuffin’s, the average teen wouldn’t imagine playing sports or being too active anymore. For McGuffin, however, this life changing experience has been one that he has been able to bounce back from in more ways than he would have imagined.

His ordeal started with summer knee pain, bringing him through two surgeries, a sightseeing trip to Boston in a wheelchair, numerous months of physical therapy, and the question of whether he would ever play sports again.


In Aug. of 2014, McGuffin felt an extremely sharp pain in his right knee during summer football practice. After about four days of pain, he noticed an immense amount of swelling and he started limping. McGuffin’s doctor referred him to Twin Cities ER, and the doctors there told him that he could possibly have a bacterial infection in his knee, and if it starts to turn red, or he spikes a fever, to come right back to the ER. That night, McGuffin spiked a fever of 104°F and rushed to the ER with his parents. After being transported via car at 2A.M. on Aug. 3 to Cottage Children’s Hospital in Santa Barbara, he had an emergency surgery on his knee with three incisions to remove a “mysterious bacterial infection.”

McGuffin was prescribed antibiotics for six weeks every six hours, in which he had to visit the nurse’s office during lunch and nutrition the first week back to school in order to take his medications through an IV. After his IV was removed from his right arm, he began physical therapy at San Luis Sports Therapy which continued for three months.

“[Physical therapy] really helped my right leg and knee strengthen and it helped me slowly get back to football, but I progressed far enough that I went back to my first football game and got a touchdown the first time I got in,” says McGuffin, who’s played football for four years as a tight end.


McGuffin poses outside, representing his dedication to basketball and football.

In March of 2015, McGuffin was fully recovered from surgery with the help of physical therapy and was playing basketball for his multiple club teams.While he was at a tournament in Fresno, playing for his club team “Bakersfield 94 Feet” ran by Mike Hove, things took a turn for the worst. After making a shot in the fourth quarter of the game, he was pushed to the ground by an opposing player and landed on his tailbone. After slowly getting up and finishing the game, he experienced constant pain for the rest of the weekend. The next day, McGuffin played in a tournament in San Luis Obispo for his other club basketball team “North County Jazz”, in which he had a fast break resulting in a similar push and fall on his tailbone. This fall, however, made it very difficult for him to walk, and he knew in his gut that there was something wrong.

About a week later, spring break had begun and McGuffin hopped on a plane with former Lewis Middle School history teacher and current PRHS Psychology and Peer teacher Jenny Martinez, Lewis Middle School teacher Debbie McPherson and 15 other students and flew about 3,104.5 miles to Boston, Massachusetts for a historical sightseeing adventure.

“My back was hurting so bad and I had such a high fever that I felt like I shouldn’t go, but my mom thought it would go away a day later, but it just kept getting worse and I couldn’t sleep for three nights…I ended up seeing Boston in a wheelchair,” said McGuffin, who could barely walk and would have to ask his roommates for assistance with simple tasks like finding his socks and getting ready for the day.

“It was a really very scary thing to do, especially since you look at this kid who is usually very healthy and in good physical condition and to see him get progressively worse throughout the trip. As a mom I had to think ‘does he just not feel good, or is he really sick?’ When he preferred to stay on the bus rather than be involved in the fun activities as we tour Boston, I knew he was pretty bad, ” said Martinez, who tried her best to tend to his needs.

The day McGuffin and the rest of the crew returned to California, he took another visit to the doctor’s office. Much to his dismay, he was instructed to once again go straight to the Emergency Room at Sierra Vista. Upon arrival, McGuffin was told that he would undergo lower back surgery to remove a staph infection, a type of bacterial infection, along with two lamina on three different vertebrae.

“I was just agreeing to everything. I didn’t really understand what was going on and the next morning my grandma was there and I asked her what happened and she said ‘you just had back surgery’ and I just felt shock and this deep throbbing feeling that I couldn’t go back to sports,” McGuffin said.

After two days on bedrest, McGuffin attempted his first steps.

“It didn’t feel the same as it did when I tried to walk after my knee surgery, and my right leg to this day does not feel right,” said McGuffin eight to nine months post surgery.

During his back operation, a nerve was hit that made his entire right leg numb and it will perhaps remain like that for the rest of his life.


Although McGuffin was able to play football starting in August, his freshman year, he was no longer a tight end, but a right guard.

“I’m still pushing to be active and play sports and all that,” McGuffin said.

Currently in the winter season, McGuffin is on the freshman basketball team playing anything from center to point guard to small forward.

Friends and family are constantly blown away at his ability to never back down from a challenge.

“He does whatever it takes to accomplish his goals and he never backs down for a challenge,” girlfriend and bestfriend freshman Brooke Milder.

He recently was discharged from physical therapy on Jan. 28 with a smile on his face.

“I just think that if anyone else was in the same spot that I was, they wouldn’t react the same, and they probably wouldn’t be doing sports. They probably would’ve quit by now, but I’ve just continued to be who I was before,” McGuffin said.

shane graphic



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