Returning To The Mound: Ashland athlete returns to the game after a broken leg

April 8, 2013

By Shannon Whitney

This story is featured in the Spring 2013 edition of myBoone Health magazine. Click here for a free subscription.

When he hit the pitch, he thought it might be a homerun. The score was 2-1, his Southern Boone County Eagles were trailing Osage High School. There were two runners on base, and junior Gus Goodnight watched his hit soar into the outfield.

The ball hit the ground and bounced over the fence. Gus knew he hit a ground rule double. He would get to take second base and two RBI’s.

Boone Hospital Center, Gus, baseballBut Gus never made it to second.

As he rounded first base, he was watching the ball. He stepped on the base awkwardly, and snap! Gus fell with a harrowing pain in his left leg.

Right away he knew something was wrong.

“My first reactions were I think I broke my leg; when am I going to be back? Did those runs score?” recalls Gus, now a senior.

A baseball player since he was 5 years old, the then high school junior was nervous about spending time away from the game within seconds of his injury.

The coaches hustled over, and someone called an ambulance. As Gus was carried off the field, both the Eagles and their opponents lined up to watch him go before saying a prayer.

The ambulance took him to a nearby hospital, but right away they knew he needed more help than they could offer. The Goodnights drove their son to Boone Hospital Center. They had heard about Todd Oliver, MD; they wanted him to take care of Gus.

Visiting team

After he was admitted and settled in, Gus and his family started getting calls and texts from his teammates and their parents.

Everyone wanted to come visit Gus. The nurses on the floor said that would be fine. The baseball team poured in at 11 p.m.

“When he was here as a patient, it really made a big difference. They didn’t have to let those kids up there at 11 p.m. at night, but they did. It was good for the kids and Gus. Even though it inconvenienced the staff, they put their patients first. We went home talking about that,” said Tima Goodnight, Gus’ mom and former Boone nurse.

“All of us moms thought, ‘Okay, guys, it’s just a broken leg. There are kids out there who are really sick,” she remembered. “But to those boys, it could have happened to any of them. It made it real.”

For the rest of the weekend, Gus followed his team through a website with regular score and stat updates. It was hard not to be on the field with his buddies.

“It made me realize a lot of things. I always thought of myself highly, but then I saw they could do it without me,” said Gus.

The day after the accident, Dr. Oliver came to see Gus. He gently felt his leg and explained how Gus would need surgery and that would mean the end of this baseball season.

“It’s never easy telling a young athlete that they have a bad injury and they’re going to miss a lot of playing time,” said Dr. Oliver. “I reassured him that he is going to get through it, and if he does things right, he’ll heal faster and get back on the field.”

Dr. Oliver put a rod in Gus’ tibia and a plate on his fibula. Gus wore a boot for the rest of the school year.

“I always tell my patients, I get the easy part. I have to put them back together. They have the hard part, they have all the work,” said Dr. Oliver.

When Gus left the hospital five days after the accident, his work was just beginning.

Adjusting to the sidelines

At his high school in Ashland, Gus played varsity baseball and football. He was accustomed to being in the middle of the action.

“We know when he becomes an adult and looks back on it, this will only be a tiny part of his life,” said Tima. “But when you’re 16, that’s a big deal to miss your purpose in life.”

With his leg in a boot, he made some big changes.

“It was hard every day getting up. I couldn’t sleep the way I used to. I had to sleep with my boot, and I couldn’t roll around,” explained Gus. “We have a batting cage in our basement, so I had to get out of bed and see that batting cage. That was rough.”

He still attended practices and games to support his team.

“It’s different to see a team from that point of view, rather than playing. You see why the coaches do stuff,” laughed Gus. “Whenever they make you run, you think this is so dumb, we shouldn’t be doing this. Whenever you are on the sideline watching and helping, you see they are out of shape and need to be running more.”

Back in the game

Dr. Oliver cleared Gus to play football on Senior Night, the final game of the season. His coach put him in as an outside linebacker, even though he played on the defensive line before the injury.

He played four plays the entire season, all in that final game.

It was easier getting back into baseball because it was a less physical game.

Early this fall, Gus returned to the mound during a fall league game. He and his mom clearly remembers the first batter.

“We were in the stands crying because he’s pitching again and we never thought we’d see the day. Then, this kid hits a homerun,” laughed Tima.

“I was furious,” scowled Gus.

He also eased back into batting, at first with the help of a pinch runner, all the while sending photos back to Dr. Oliver.

Gus goes to the Columbia Speed Academy a couple times each week to prepare for baseball season this spring. This March, his team traveled to Florida to squeeze in some spring training games before the season started.

When asked about his senior season, he replied, “I’m really excited. I’m ready to get back into it.”

Gus hopes to continue his baseball career into college. In the meantime, he’s just happy to be back on the mound.

Boone Hospital Center, Gus, baseball

This story is featured in the Spring 2013 edition of myBoone Health magazine. Click here for a free subscription.

Colon cancer is dangerous but largely preventable

March 27, 2013

March is national Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and Boone Hospital Center is reminding people that this deadly disease is largely preventable with proper screening.

Colorectal cancer itself is very dangerous and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, about 50,000 Americans die of colorectal cancer.

While the cancer is dangerous, the good news is that screening techniques, most commonly a colonoscopy, can detect and remove cancer-causing polyps before they become dangerous. Boone Hospital and government health officials recommend that most people have colonoscopies at regular intervals starting at age 50.

A family history of colon cancer is the leading reason why some people are asked to come in for colonoscopies at an earlier age. That’s why it is important to discuss colon cancer with family members and encourage them to go for regular screenings.

Boone Hospital Center’s GI Lab has certified staff with a combined 217 years of experience. They also use the latest colonoscopy technology.

Having a colonoscopy done in a hospital setting offers the quickest access to surgery and other hospital services, should the screening uncover a problem. Boone Hospital’s GI Lab also offers same-day colonoscopy results with a visual report.

For information on how to schedule a screening, call the GI Lab at 573.815.6344.

Announcing the Virginia and Norman Stewart Cancer Center

February 18, 2013
Boone Hospital Center is excited to announce plans to build the Virginia and Norman Stewart Cancer Center.

The Stewarts are beginning their affiliation with the cancer center as a way to raise awareness and help fight cancer. The former coach of the University of Missouri men’s basketball team, Norm Stewart is the founder of the Coaches vs. Cancer organization.

“For many years, Virginia and I have benefited from the services and care provided at Boone Hospital,” Norm Stewart said.  “It’s a great honor to join our legacy with Boone Hospital. We look forward to working together to enhance cancer care in mid-Missouri.”

The Stewart Cancer Center name will encompass all of Boone Hospital’s cancer services, from screening to treatment and everything in between. The name will also be applied to a brand-new inpatient cancer treatment unit to be constructed this year.

The inpatient unit will be located on the sixth floor of the hospital’s south tower, which opened in 2011. It will include 32 private patient rooms and incorporate the latest in health care design for the comfort and safety of our cancer patients and their families.

Construction on the new inpatient unit is expected to begin in 2013 and cost $7.2 million.

“We are honored to have Virginia and Norm Stewart’s collaboration on this project, which will be nothing short of transformative for cancer care at Boone Hospital,” said Fred Parry, chairman of the Boone Hospital Board of Trustees. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we’d like to thank the Stewarts for joining us in this project to fight cancer and improve the health of our community.”

Check regularly for updates on construction and events surrounding the Stewart Cancer Center.


A rendering of the inpatient unit in the Virginia and Norman Stewart Cancer Center

Let’s B-E-A-T Crohn’s

January 14, 2013

By Shannon Whitney

This story is featured in the Winter 2013 edition of myBoone Health magazine. Click here for a free subscription.

Kalani Hall

Kalani Hall, 17, had digestive issues on and off for years. She was told it was just anemia, but it felt worse than that. The mother of one of her cheerleading teammates works for Donald Gerhardt, MD, and helped Kalani make an appointment.

Dr. Gerhardt scheduled a colonoscopy, and in August 2011 diagnosed Kalani with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that tends to begin affecting people in their teens or twenties.

“I was scared. I had never really heard about it. I didn’t know if I was going to be OK, or what was going to happen,” said Kalani, now a senior at Southern Boone County High School.

At first, her treatment included iron infusions and other medications. She took 16 pills each day. Kalani and her family slowly began learning all about Crohn’s.

“She and her mom are very intelligent. They were receptive and followed what I explained to them,” said Dr. Gerhardt. “This family really helped her weigh the benefits and risks to each approach.”

Last spring, Dr. Gerhardt consulted with surgeon Walter Peters, MD. They decided the most irritated portion of her intestine needed to be removed.

Although she was scared, Dr. Peters was able to answer her questions and fully prepare her and her parents for the surgery.

“It relieved a lot of stress, because it was all new to me, and I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Kalani said. “It made it easier to understand because he had a picture and showed how the surgery was going to go and what he was going to cut out.”

She was a cheerleader and a student at Southern Boone County High School. She didn’t want this diagnosis to affect her teenage life.

“I was really worried about it because cheerleading means a lot to me, and not being able to do it would be devastating,” said Kalani. “When we went and consulted with Dr. Peters, I asked him if I’d be able to cheer. He said it would be OK after healing.”

Although she was supposed to wait three weeks before returning to physical activity, Kalani knew she couldn’t miss cheerleading tryouts. Two weeks after surgery she endured tryouts and made the team.

This fall, Kalani was the top fundraiser for the first Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis walk in Columbia. A group of her friends and family, including the cheerleading squad, joined in matching shirts for the walk.

Now she’s managing both her Crohn’s and her cheerleading. She hopes to study criminal investigation in college next year.

She shares this advice to other teens struggling with Crohn’s: “It does get easier. It will get easier. You can still live a normal life. You just have to manage it well.”

Cold Weather Workouts

December 21, 2012

We’re lucky to enjoy all four seasons in Missouri. We spend summers at the pool and have snowball fights in the winter. In between is filled with changing leaves, growing gardens and warm weather, making it easier to stay active outside. During the cold winter months, it’s often hard to find motivation to leave the warm house. We asked Boone Hospital Center employees to share their ideas for cold-weather workouts. We hope you find inspiration to keep yourself and your family active this winter!

Gina Cox
With four children, having activities to do during the winter months is not just a need; it is a must! We have a membership to the local rec center. We load up and travel just three miles to the center to play basketball, work out on the exercise equipment or just play around. Our Wii system also provides great indoor fitness opportunities.We set up bowling tournaments and compete to achieve the highest scores on many of the sports and dance-related games!

winterfitnessSeanSean Kennelly
I am an avid runner and I like to train all year round but I loathe running on the treadmill and wanting to stay in shape isn’t always enough motivation to get me out on the trails during the winter. That is one reason why I am a volunteer dog-walker at the Central Missouri Humane Society. They need all the help they can get at this time of year and knowing that the dogs are counting on volunteers for the stimulation and exercise they need helps me get out the door on really cold days. The dogs make great walking/ running buddies and the miles go by a lot quicker when you see how much they enjoy it.

Denise Martin
We roller skate. It costs less than a movie and is something the whole family can do. It beats sitting at home on the couch.

Emily Nusbaum
In the winter months I put on my cold-weather running gear and meet my friends for a run just like I do in the warmer months. I have worked hard to have fitness and do not want to lose it just because it is cold outside! It is hard to get out of a warm bed into the cold air outside, but I have never once regretted doing it. It is actually quite beautiful out there and it is hard to beat the feeling of accomplishment I get from getting the run done. It also makes me appreciate the days when I get to stay in my warm bed a little longer. Cold-weather running is not my favorite, but come spring I am so glad I stuck it out all winter!

Betty Lathrop
I enjoy shoveling snow and seeing the sun glisten off the snowflakes. I like walking through the timber when it snows. When the weather is good, I walk to the mailbox and back — one mile. Also, I get my leaf blower/mulcher out and walk around the yard.

Ann Bene
One thing my husband and I do to stay active is bike to work almost every day, even in the cold, unless there is ice or snow. Also we go for walks. I workout at WELLAWARE and swim at the ARC also during the winter months.

nerf warKirsten Kempker
One of my family’s favorite things to do during the winter months when it is too cold to get outside is we each have a Nerf gun and we run around the house hiding and shooting pellets at each other. It is quite the workout. It is great family fun and definitely works up a sweat!

Becky Hennessy
When the hunting season is over, my husband and son hit the local gym to swim. I am a triathlete so I am always training for something. I spin, strength train and swim at the gym indoors, but I ride the
trail and gravel roads and run outdoors. For me, the treadmill is the “dreadmill”!

Stacey Tonyan
During the colder months, it’s not as tempting to be outside, making it much easier for me to get on the treadmill (which is positioned in front of a television).  Taking the time to watch a favorite show while exercising makes the time go by faster and without the guilt!

Monica Korba
My family stays active during the cooler months by participating in indoor sports like dance, soccer and swimming. We take walks on days that aren’t too frigid down to the local park. I have a gym membership and use the treadmill while my son takes his own cardio kids class. My kids also like to go to Flipz fun days. They run around and practice their gymnastics skills on trampolines and fly into the foam pit. We also hit up the mall for a walk and the indoor play area.

Robin Bell
I like to bundle up and walk or run outdoors, even if it’s cold outside. The fresh outdoor air has many health benefits! I also swim laps at the YMCA and then warm up in the hot tub afterwards.

Judith Loesch
Take a walk in the snow at your favorite park with your dog. Wear heavy boots and it will be a workout!

Wendy Castagno
Here is what I do in winter to stay fit. Get up early before work and go to Wellaware to exercise. Some days when weather isn’t too inclement, I go for a jog either before or after work, fresh, crisp air really makes you feel good! The only time I really avoid being outside to exercise or play with grandkids(never too cold for kids) is when the roads/sidewalks are slick or if it is really bitter cold. Otherwise, layer up and get going!

Heather Buxton
The way I like to stay fit in the winter is bundling up and taking my dogs on hikes. They LOVE the snow! And if you hike with decent incline and for long enough, you work up enough of a sweat to stay warm. I also like to do Hot Yoga and there is a new studio here in Columbia.

Mike Smith
We live close to the Bear Creek Trail. Even during the winter we’ll just bundle up according to the weather and hit the trail. There’s hardly anyone on the trail, it’s quiet and the scenery is great. The hot chocolate when you get home isn’t bad either.

Christy Swartz
Our family loves outdoor time in the winter. No snakes, bugs or humidity! Growing up in a large family where funds were scarce we used to “wear our closet” to go outside and play. I would put on two pairs of jeans and even wear socks on my hands. My pants would get wet and freeze and movement was limited. As an adult I did not believe that I could be outside in the cold and be comfortable until I bought good base layer clothing. Now I can stay warm, dry, and comfortable without bulk. Having a great base layer next to your skin is the key for my family enjoying outdoor activities in winter. Wintertime in Missouri is the best!

What’s your favorite wintertime activity? Leave us a comment!

Respiratory Therapist shines light on genetic disease

November 26, 2012

Amber Behrendt was the MU Honorary Captain for the MU vs. Syracuse game on Nov. 17, 2012.

Amber Behrendt is a respiratory therapist at Boone Hospital who was surprised to learn about a genetic disease that caused irreparable damage to lungs, eventually leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, often called COPD.

She, along with her friend and Boone nurse Jennifer Wyatt, co-founded of a non-profit called Alpha’s Voice which provides free testing for the public and support for people who test positive for Alpha 1.

Wyatt’s uncle lost his life only six months after testing positive for Alpha 1. Behrendt and Wyatt were worried their colleagues did not have enough information to recommend testing or provide care to people who have the disease.

“When I first found out about it, I started testing people in my family and we found five carriers,” said Behrendt. “My grandfather passed away from COPD and by tracing the genetics back, we found out he was a carrier. It’s sad to me that I was not able to help him out.”

The pair traveled to conferences and read everything they could find to educate themselves. Now they work with Dr. Mohammad Jarbou, MD, and other respiratory therapists to provide support for patients who test positive.

Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, as it is officially known, is a genetic condition that affects the liver or the lungs. Alpha 1 is a protein that is mainly produced in the liver then secreted through the blood stream and goes to the lungs.

People who are born deficient of Alpha 1 don’t have enough protection for their lungs. During the course of many years the lungs deteriorate from smoking, irritants to the lungs, chemicals or pollution. The same protein can also back up into the liver and cause different problems such as jaundice.
“Most people don’t find out they have Alpha 1 until they see signs or symptoms,” said Behrendt. “By then you’ve already had so much damage done to the lungs that you don’t have as many choices along the lines of treatment.”

Since the disease is genetic, early detection is key to preventing lung and liver damage. Behrendt and Wyatt encourage people with COPD or a family history of lung disease to get tested. A test involves a simple finger-prick.

Treatments are available for people who test positive for Alpha 1. The type of treatment depends on the level of damage in the lungs and liver. Two of the options include blood infusion therapy and ultimately a lung or liver transplant.

Alpha’s Voice offers free testing with the help of Boone Hospital and other sponsors. If a person tests positive, Behrendt and Wyatt work with him or her to find a physician and other support.

“My nephew was four at the time he was diagnosed as a carrier,” Behrendt said. “I feel like we can offer him better choices and monitor him to see how he does and hopefully stay ahead of it.”

If you would like education or to get tested for Alpha 1, please contact Amber Behrendt at

2012 Best in Show

October 25, 2012

Each year, Boone Hospital Center employees look forward to the annual employee photo contest to show off impressive shots of their family, nature, vacation and more.

This year’s categories included Family, Nature, Blue and Architecture. The bonus category, voted on by employees, was Famous Images Re-Enacted. There were many outstanding photographs by Boone Hospital staff from all different skill levels.

This year’s Best in Show prize went to Ed Stobie, Medical Technologist from the Laboratory. His prize winning photo of this granddaughter playing in the surf at St. Pete’s beach outside of Tampa got a big “aww” from the crowd during the awards ceremony on Oct. 18, 2012.

This summer, Stobie and his wife Kathy, along with their daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter Ella visited Florida. One night during a walk on the beach he turned around to see Ella, then two years old, playing in the sand. He captured the moment with his camera.

“You have to be quick,” he laughed about his photo. “They move around a lot and don’t pose for pictures at that age.”

Stobie and his wife, who works in the recovery room at Boone Hospital, love to travel to National Parks. They take a lot of photos for fun.


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