TROY — After Dan Cline, an electric lineman for the city of Piqua, injured both of his shoulders in a fall, he was eager to get back to work.
Cline fell backwards while working on the ground, causing shoulder injuries that required months of recovery following surgery and physical therapy.
Because of the amount of time he’d been away from the job, Cline said Workers Compensation asked if he’d go through a program to prepare for the return to work.
He agreed and was introduced to the Upper Valley Medical Center WorkFORCE program located at the UVMC Outpatient Care Center/South in Troy. WorkFORCE offers individualized programs designed to help injured workers get back on the job.
For two months, Cline would visit the WorkFORCE office and work with Julie Zalar, program coordinator, and Dave Brush, physical therapy assistant. His program incorporated exercises along with work simulation activities.
“We talked about what my job consisted of and what we could possibly do to do something closely related to my work,” Cline said. “I do a lot of climbing and, at times, work off a ladder.”
Among their efforts was making cross arms out of tubes similar to cross arms the linemen place on poles. Cline then would carry the cross arms they fashioned and simulate job tasks with them. He’d also use his climbing belt in exercises designed to simulate what he might be asked to do any day at work.
“We started out slow and they would add more (activities) a little more every couple of weeks,” he said. Goals would be set for each week, evaluated and once reached, new goals would be set.
“One goal was body mechanics, to use the muscles I would use at work” but not during surgery or recovery, Cline said.
A Piqua native, Cline has been a lineman for the city for 13 years. He previously was employed in tree work with a contractor working in trees around power lines and cleaning up following storms.
His experiences have helped Cline succeed in competitions with others who work as lineman. A few months after returning to work in 2014, he placed first in all five events and first overall at a statewide competition. “I was pretty proud of that,” he said.
Cline said he’d recommend the WorkFORCE program to others. “I would recommend it for anybody trying to get back in shape if they have been off an extended period of time. I wanted to come back to work. When I went there, I took full advantage of it as far as the workouts, the exercising, everything they had to offer,” he said.
He said the people running the program were great. “I could go in there and talk about whatever issues I was having. They took the time. With exercises, they explained what I was doing, why I was doing it, to make sure I was doing it right,” he said.
For more information on the UVMC WorkFORCE program, call 937-440-7322 or visit uvmc.com.