David Dudley is an active guy – the kind who rarely lazes around the house on days he's not fishing or tending to his Virginia farm.
His active lifestyle is partly to blame for the condition of his left shoulder, which required surgery earlier this week. It was a procedure that could've and probably should've been done last year, but he fished through the discomfort and pain this season.
"I've been an active guy my whole life," he said. "I played football, basketball and baseball since I was 6 years old. I never missed a season. Then I played 11 years of racquetball all the while I was fishing. That's all shoulders and swinging. That combo doesn't set up for good shoulders when you get older.
"It was one of those things where it hurt, but I have such a high tolerance of pain. Last winter, I finally went to the doctor and he did an MRI and basically, he found that my left shoulder was worn out. The collarbone and shoulder bone were rubbing together."
At the time, it was too late for surgery since the recovery would have cut into the 2014 FLW Tour season. Instead, Dudley received two cortisone shots (one before the season and one during) to help with pain relief.
"It got to the point where if I was out deep and fishing slow like dragging a worm or jig, anything where I had to hold the rod upright, it was torture," he said. "It was non-stop pain. I would hear the pops and grinding in my shoulder.
"At Kentucky Lake, it got to hurting again pretty bad," he added, "so I took another shot to get through the Cup. The doctor then had me on the books for both shoulders because they both have wear and tear pretty bad. Right before I went in for surgery, he double-checked everything and decided to hold off on the right shoulder for now."
During the operation, the doctor shaved the collarbone and shoulder bone to create a space between the two.
"I'm still a little sore and I'm trying to sit around," Dudley said, "but that's hard to do. It's hard to just sit around and not do anything. I'm doing a lot of terminal tackle work and cleaning my fishing room out and catching up on sponsor stuff now. I can't just sit down. I'm a busy guy."
He thinks, eventually, he'll have the same surgery done on his right shoulder and fears he may need back surgery down the road as well.
"I don't think this will be my last surgery," he said. "I know my back is in horrible condition and I know if I go there, what he's going to say. I just turned 39 last week, but I feel like I have the body of a 50-year-old."