Retired High School Coach Back on Course Thanks to Unique Shoulder Surgery from Baptist Health/Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute

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Dr. Kevin Kaplan, JOI orthopedic surgeon and head team physician for the Jacksonville Jaguars, has been specially trained in superior capsular reconstruction, which was developed in Japan.

After 36 years coaching and teaching youth, Reginald Lucas was looking forward to retiring two years ago and playing a lot of golf.

But a work-related injury in 2010 caused the one-time minor league baseball player and former college basketball coach to cringe every time he lifted his left arm.

“I had a lot of restless nights. I couldn’t sleep. If I rolled over on it the wrong way, I had a sharp pain,” the 63-year-old said.

After several rotator cuff surgeries performed by other surgeons in Jacksonville and no relief, he almost gave up hope until he met Kevin Kaplan, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute, and head team physician for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Dr. Kaplan has been trained to perform a unique procedure that was developed in Japan called superior capsular reconstruction that is providing patients with another option.

Without a reparable rotator cuff, the only remaining option traditionally was a shoulder replacement procedure. However, instead of replacing the ball and socket, Dr. Kaplan can reconstruct the rotator cuff using donated cadaver tissue, an approach similar to knee reconstruction procedures.

Rotator cuff tears generally can be fixed, but Dr. Kaplan said there are times when the torn tissues become so retracted that the rotator cuff, much like a rubber band that loses its elasticity, cannot be directly repaired. Patients would either need to continue to live with their pain and limited motion or have their whole shoulder joint replaced, which might not be ideal for younger patients for whom the replacement might eventually wear out.

Lucas was Dr. Kaplan’s first patient to undergo the procedure in April 2015 and one of the first in Florida. Dr. Kaplan now speaks nationally to other surgeons about the procedure and its benefits.

“Medicine is always evolving and this is an evolution in orthopedics,” Dr. Kaplan said. “This technique is still new, but patients are doing fantastic after their one-year follow up. Studies still have to be done to quantify the long-term benefits.”

Lucas said he was able to move his shoulder around four to six weeks after surgery as opposed to six to eight months with the previous rotator cuff surgeries.

“He had to almost make me a new shoulder,” Lucas said. “He’s wonderful. He stepped outside the box to try something new that had never been tried before. I didn’t mind being the first. If I was willing to try it, he was willing to work at getting it done. I think doc is one of the up and coming young doctors who is going to go far and do a lot. He has the mindset to achieve.”

Lucas is glad to be back golfing and walking five miles a day. Sports have always been a big part of his life playing baseball at New Stanton High School; Florida A & M University and a year as an infielder with the Atlanta Braves farm system. He was a former head basketball coach at Edward Waters College and coached baseball and basketball in Duval County schools. He also taught physical education, exceptional education and was an in-school suspension facilitator.

But golf is the one sport he’s glad his new shoulder allows him to play.

“I golf every time someone gives me a chance,” Lucas said.


About Baptist Health
Baptist Health is a faith-based, mission-driven system in Northeast Florida comprised of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville; Baptist Medical Center Beaches; Baptist Medical Center Nassau; Baptist Medical Center South; Baptist Clay Medical Campus and Wolfson Children’s Hospital – the region’s only children’s hospital. All Baptist Health hospitals, along with Baptist Home Health Care, have achieved Magnet™ status for excellence in patient care. Baptist Health is part of Coastal Community Health, a regional affiliation between Baptist Health, Flagler Hospital and Southeast Georgia Health System forming a highly integrated hospital network focused on significant initiatives designed to enhance the quality and value of care provided to our contiguous communities. Baptist Health has the area’s only dedicated heart hospital; orthopedic institute; women’s services; neurological institute, including comprehensive neurosurgical services, a comprehensive stroke center and two primary stroke centers; a Bariatric Center of Excellence; a full range of psychology and psychiatry services; urgent care services; and primary and specialty care physicians’ offices throughout Northeast Florida. The Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center is a regional destination for multidisciplinary cancer care which is clinically integrated with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the internationally renowned cancer treatment and research institution in Houston. For more details, visit

About Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute
Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute offers 35 specialty-trained physicians and 15 physician assistants dedicated to delivering comprehensive care for the muscles, bones and joints for more than 400 sports team members. In addition, JOI maintains a rehab division with more than 75 therapists. In February 2011, JOI affiliated with Baptist Health. In addition to providing athletic trainers for Jacksonville Armada FC, JOI provides team physicians for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville Sharks, Jacksonville University and Florida State College at Jacksonville. JOI is also a community partner to and provides athletic trainers and/or physicians to The Bolles High School, Fernandina Beach High School, Paxon High School, Episcopal High School, Bishop Kenny High School, Bishop John J. Snyder High School, and Atlantic Coast High School. For information about JOI, visit or call 904.JOI.2000.

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Deborah Circelli
Baptist Health
+1 (904) 202-4916
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