Demon swimmer Josh Kuhn looks completely healthy at first glance, but he carries a burden literally on his shoulders.
“I have a blood clot in my shoulder right here,” he said, pointing to his right shoulder.
The injury flared up right at the start of last season.
“My arm would just get really tight, and it would swell up,” Kuhn said. “It was just really hard to move, and I’d have to stop and take a break, and let it relax a little bit. We weren’t sure what it was at first.”
Kuhn hoped it would just go away.
“I was mainly worried about the season and not getting to swim again, because this is a big part of my life, going through hours and hours on end of pool practice,” Kuhn said.
But it was severe enough to require surgery.
“They removed three-fourths of my first right rib, and part of the muscle surrounding my clavicle,” Kuhn said.
And while thankful for a successful surgery, being robbed of his junior season still stung.
“It killed me a little bit on the inside because I’d have to come here and watch all my teammates practice and improve, and I had to sit on the block,” Kuhn said.
But it didn’t stop him from preparing for his final year.
“Even when he knew that his shoulder was a limitation, he worked out everything else to keep himself in the best shape that he could,” head coach Cale Schafer said.
The shoulder doesn’t bother him in meets, but practices are a different story.
“The thing is when we start doing long sets, like right now I can feel it still tightening up since it’s still there,” Kuhn said. “There’s just lack of blood flow, and then it just kind of gets stuck in my arm.”
But a little discomfort is nothing, because he gets to do what he loves once again.
“I was really excited and happy to go back, and it’s been pretty good so far,” Kuhn said.