The Better Way Back® community is made up of 2,000 Patient Ambassadors nationwide. Two of our biggest supporters are world-class athletes, Nate “Rock” Quarry and Bill Walton. Learn more about these incredible spokesmen below.
“I was thinking seriously about ending it all,” says NBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Walton.
Chronic back pain had taken him down, literally. “I was eating meals lying flat on the floor. I felt pathetic.”
After exhausting other options including acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, and cortisone injections, Bill made the decision to have minimally disruptive spine surgery. The procedure took 8.5 hours and the recovery took months.
Impatient to get back on his beloved bicycle and on with his life, Bill grew frustrated with his slow recovery. Fortunately, his wife, Lori, clearly saw the small but unmistakable signs of steady improvement. Yellow Post-It notes started appearing around the Walton home with simple messages like: “Today you ate sitting up” and “Today you bent down and pet our dogs” and “Today you rode your stationary bike for an hour.” Lori kept up the message posting for months. And Bill got better and better.
Bill Walton today: Bill has his life back. He works out daily in the pool. He’s active in business and volunteers with numerous charities. He rides his bike up to 100 miles a day. And he’s a passionate spokesman for The Better Way Back Community, sharing his personal story with the public as well as healthcare professionals. He also represents the community to the media and advocates tirelessly for universal patient access to quality spine care and treatment.
Degenerative disc disease did something to Ultimate Fighter Nate “Rock” Quarry that few opponents ever achieved: it brought him to his knees. “I couldn’t train. I was afraid of losing my career and not being able to put food on the table. Worst of all, I couldn’t even lift up my little girl, Ciera.”
After trying many unsuccessful treatments, Nate opted to undergo minimally disruptive surgery. During his recovery, he set specific goals for himself. One of his first goals was just to walk down a hallway. He made it halfway. Two days, later he made it all the way. Soon, he was walking down the hallway multiple times. Says Nate: “Those are the kind of simple but attainable goals you need to set for yourself. Don’t be too ambitious at first and be sure to celebrate every single goal when you reach it!”
Only 15 months after surgery, Nate’s comeback victory in the Octagon is still a source of awe in the Ultimate Fighting community.
Pain-free and loving life, Nate now is the “Health and Wellness Coach” for The Better Way Back® community, telling his remarkable personal story and spreading the word about minimally disruptive surgical options. Equal parts coach and very rugged cheerleader, Nate personally encourages and inspires patients to stay positive and take action.