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“I nearly died”: Dean Ambrose talks about his health scare while he was injured

Dean Ambrose spoke with The Monitor ahead of his match at the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg, Texas. This was not a typical interview because he opened up on the severity of his torn triceps tendon that kept him out of action for several months. It turns out that things were much worse than initially reported.

Initially, he was told that he would need three to four months to recover but that changed once doctors saw the true extent of the damage. He ended up out for eight months in what he described as “one nightmare after another.”

“It was just one nightmare after another. It was a pretty challenging period of time to go through,” Ambrose said. “I ended up having two different surgeries. I had this MRSA, Staph infection. I nearly died. I was in the hospital for a week plugged up to this antibiotic drip thing, and I was on all these antibiotics for months that make you puke and crap your pants.”

Ambrose said that his arm wasn’t healing correctly. He said, ” It’s kind of an indeterminate period where I initially hurt it. I thought it was, we call it Dusty elbows. It’s a pretty typical wrestler thing. You just get this bursa sac of fluid on your elbow from banging it on the mat or whatever. I’ve had that dozens of times on both elbows. It usually just goes away. It was kind of disguised. By the time I finally went and got the first surgery, my triceps was already starting to atrophy and look weird. I wasn’t able to flex my triceps for a really long time. And then the first surgery didn’t really, something went wrong in the process. Probably due to that infection. It’s kind of hard to say when that really even got in my body. This is a long answer to your question. But for a minute there, it was getting scary. By the time I got that second surgery, it was March, I think. My arm was so shrunken and skeletal that it was weird. I hadn’t been able to move it or flex it in so long that I was starting to get scared I wasn’t ever going to get it back. To go from not being able to eat my Froot Loops, to being able to get back in the ring and throw people around and throw punches and do everything back to normal, it was a very gratifying feeling.”

He said that doctors found traces of an infection during the first surgery but they cleaned it out. Six weeks or so after that is when he realized that he was not healing correctly and that is when he decided to go in for a checkup. Ambrose said that doctors told him that he had to go into surgery at that moment.

Ambrose said, “I ended up just moving to Birmingham just to play it safe and be with the doctor and best rehab guys. As soon as I got out of the second one, I was flying home, grabbing my dog, turned right back around, got in the truck and drove to Birmingham. I just stayed there for two and a half or three months until they felt like I was pretty good. Once the MRSA really got out of my system, I was working out twice a day. Rehabbing twice a day on top of that in Birmingham. Doing everything possible to try to get my arm working again, and once I started to come back, I started to make a lot of progress over the summer. So I’m feeling good now.”

He says that the tendon was attached when he went in for the second time and they had to scoop out “gooey stuff.” Ambrose says that he could have gotten really sick if he hadn’t gone in for the checkup.

Ambrose says that he has been doing basic powerlifting, bench presses, squats and dead lifts, which explains why he came back bigger than before his injury. He added, ” It’s a lot easier when you have the time to just recover and stuff. Being on the road 280 days per year, you’re working 30 minutes per night and traveling all around the world, recovery is a lot harder. But nothing fancy. Just super basic, heavy-ass weights.”

Ambrose also talked about cutting his hair, the change with his in-ring style, his goals in the wrestling ring, and much more. Click here for the full interview.

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