Indiana sheriff back on the job after shoulder surgery

Officer Ken Haas was injured in a training exercise, but it took a year before surgery could ease the pain. Here’s the story.

Ken Haas, a corrections officer and SWAT team lead with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office in Southern Indiana, was training police recruits in 2020 when a demonstration resulted in a shoulder injury.

Training recruits in handcuffing

It was a normal day on the job for this now 54-year-old, but as one of the recruits attempted to handcuff Ken during an exercise, things went sideways.

“I was prone on the ground, and he took my arm straight back over my head,” Ken said.

The sudden sharp pain signaled something was wrong.

The first stop was his primary care provider, who sent Ken to Norton Orthopedic Institute. Doctors told him there were tiny tears — one in the top of the biceps muscle and one in the long head medial tendon, the tough tissue that connects the biceps to the top of the shoulder.

“They looked at me and told me the situation wasn’t to the point I needed surgery,” Ken said. “I was supposed to ice it, take some ibuprofen and do certain stretches.”

He was also advised not to do some things, including headstands and other strenuous activities. He spent a year trying not to overtax the arm and shoulder, trying not to make it worse and trying to let it heal to a certain degree.

Asking a SWAT team leader not to strain a shoulder is like asking a fish not to swim.

Norton Orthopedic Institute

At locations throughout Greater Louisville, Norton Orthopedic Institute offers expertise in general orthopedics, joint replacement, injuries, trauma, pediatrics, oncology, spinal conditions and sports health.

Additionally, 2020 was the start of the pandemic, lockdowns and masking, but also a record year for calls to the police department. Ken’s department helps cover other jurisdictions, including providing backup across the river in Louisville, Kentucky.

“I tried to stick with the boundaries they gave me” to protect the shoulder, Ken said. “But then we were called to breach the door of a suspect with a gun.”

The sledgehammering required of Ken reinjured the officer’s shoulder.

“The entire long head medial tendon pulled off the bone,” Ken said.

A pit stop on the road to healing

Surgery was scheduled for October 2021. Ryan J. Krupp, M.D., shoulder surgeon with Norton Orthopedic Institute, led the surgery.

“When you have an injury like this, the tendon shortens, so we can’t just stretch it out to reach the top of the humerus bone where it was,” Dr. Krupp said. “We have to graft some tissue to the end of the biceps and reattach the whole thing to the bone.”

Since it had been a year since the initial injury, there also was a lot of scar tissue built up in the area, so that had to be removed.

After outpatient surgery, Ken was sent home to rest for several weeks before beginning physical therapy. Then his recovery hit a snag.

“I came home from the operation, and I hadn’t eaten for a few days,” Ken said. “I had dinner, and suddenly it felt like I was being stabbed in the gut.”

Back to the hospital he went, this time to the emergency department. Ken was diagnosed with gastrointestinal perforation, or a hole in the lining of the intestine.

“My [primary care] doctor had me taking aspirin as part of the anti-inflammatory course. What we didn’t know is that it was making holes in my intestine,” Ken said.

This time, he was in the hospital for 10 days and underwent surgery to repair the holes. When he was able to start two months of intensive physical therapy for the shoulder, Ken made quick progress.

“They said it was because I was in pretty good shape before the surgery,” Ken said.

Despite a 30-year career, this is only Ken’s second injury on the force, the first being a broken leg. These days, Ken says he’s at about 95% of what he could do before.

“I passed the SWAT physical fitness test when I went back to work, but I don’t have 100% of my range of motion back,” he said.

While there are some slight changes, he’s glad to be back at his law enforcement job and doing great.

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.