Matt Breitenbach

I am 65 years old and a life-long baseball and New York Mets fan. I’ve played baseball since I was seven, from little league through high school and college. I even experienced a bit of semi-professional baseball. I was a catcher, and always loved it. After a brief time playing softball in my thirties, I thought I was done with playing baseball. I was happy watching my son and daughter as they grew up and developed their own interests and activities. For my daughter it was music; my son, baseball.

Then, after many years of being away from the game, my wife asked me if I’d like to attend New York Mets Fantasy Camp for my 60th birthday. Met fans can attend for a week, get full Mets home and away uniforms, meet retired and current Mets, and play baseball against other campers. I was skeptical about being able to do this physically. I’d had right arm rotator cuff surgery in 2009, done by Dr. Beth Shubin Stein at HSS, which had allowed me to regain full range of motion in an otherwise very sore shoulder.

I attended Fantasy Camp in 2011, and afterward thought I was done with baseball. The only thing that could make me wish to try it again was if my son could go. He was a pitcher in his baseball career and still plays softball. I had hinted around to him about doing Fantasy Camp together, but he is married with young boys. But to my great surprise, in 2014 he asked me if I still wanted to go together in 2016.

By this time, being away from the game for yet another five years, I was skeptical. But I really wanted to do it and said yes. Unfortunately in the five years that had passed, I’d also had surgery on an arthritic knee. Both knees were sore off and on, as was the shoulder which I had re-injured.

I went to the Hospital for Special Surgery to consult with Dr. Beth Shubin Stein, who had done both my shoulder and knee operations. She, along with Amy Lenz-Arnouk, and Margaret Scheitz, created a program for me, which included physical therapy to strengthen my knees and shoulder, medication, and a schedule of consultations to monitor my progress.

They got me through! Thanks to the Hospital for Special Surgery, I was able to accomplish not just a bucket-list item, but realize my dream of catching my son in a Mets uniform at almost 65 years young! (By the way, he was awesome and I was able to catch him for ten innings of competition, including the last four innings of our championship game which we won 4-2, as well as catch him in our reunion game this past July 11 at Citi Field)! I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life. I am thrilled to be able to share this experience and how I was able to realize it through the efforts of the Hospital For Special Surgery Sports Medicine Unit: Beth, Amy and Maggie and the rest of the staff. And thanks to my wonderful wife Terry for all the support through all of it!!!!!

Many thanks to you all!!!

Beth E. Shubin Stein, MD

Orthopaedic Surgery &  Sports Medicine

Hospital for Special Surgery

Amy Lenz-Arnouk, MSc, OPA-C, ATC/L

Margaret Scheitz, MS, OPA-C, ATC

Beth Shubin SteinMatt Breitenbach