Bassmaster Elite Pro-Mark Menendez recovering from a back injury


By Sam Rutherford

June 9, 2020, was not a good day for Bassmaster Elite Series pro-Mark Menendez. He was practicing for the event on Lake Eufaula, Alabama when a cast went awry with a Strike King 6XD deep-diving crankbait.

 Elite Pro-Mark Menendez recovering from a back injury June 9, 2020, was not a good day for Bassmaster Elite Series pro-Mark Menendez

A two-pound largemouth bite the lure, Menendez instinctively swept his rod to the right, and then what happened next ended his 2020 Bassmaster Elite Series season.

“It basically slipped the L5 disc out of position,” said Menendez. “That, in turn, caused all kinds of deep muscle cramps.”

The L5 is the lowest vertebrae of the lumbar spine. Together with the intervertebral disc, joints, nerves, and soft tissues, the L5 spinal motion segment provides a variety of functions, including supporting the upper body and allowing movement in multiple directions. Due to its heavy load-bearing function and wide range of flexibility, the L5 motion segment may be more susceptible to developing pain from injury and/or degenerative changes compared to other lumbar segments.

Menendez made it back to the ramp, had someone load his Skeeter FXR20 on the trailer, and he began the long, painful drive back to his home in Paducah, Ky. On the way, he stopped at The Orthopaedic Center in Huntsville, Ala. An evaluation by orthopedic surgeons revealed surgery would be unnecessary.

Elite Pro-Mark Menendez recovering from a back injury June 9, 2020, was not a good day for Bassmaster Elite Series pro-Mark Menendez

Back home, Menendez was contacted by Dr. David Wootton, an orthopedic surgeon in Memphis, Tenn. Coincidentally, Wootton competes on the FLW Tour, and he specializes in therapies specific to his injury.

“It has been absolutely magnificent, like turning on a light switch,” said Menendez. “I’m feeling better, moving better, the neuropathies are gone from my feet, and the heaviness and weight in my lower legs has dissipated.

Well, on his way to recovery, Menendez commutes twice each week to Memphis for therapy. He fills out his week fishing with his son on small lakes with high catch rates. Trips lasting no more than 5 hours are the latest addition to the fishing therapy program. Menendez limbers up near home, fishing the confluence of the Tennessee, Cumberland, and Ohio rivers.

“It’s been fun fishing with my son, Max, and it’s going great,” he said. “And I have one more goal for 2020 that I am hopeful that I can do.”

That is to compete in the Bassmaster Eastern Open at Lay Lake. The Alabama fishery is hosting the final Open of the season in early December.

“It would be a great way to go out, considering everything that’s happened this year,” said Menendez, who plans to resume competing on the Elite Series with the 2021 season.

This season, Menendez competed in the Skeeter FX20, redesigned from the ground up, with advanced design concepts and hundreds of testing hours to provide you the ultimate bass boat with lighter and stronger components and a whole new level of fishablilty.

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This document contains many of Skeeter’s valuable trademarks. It may also contain trademarks belonging to other companies. Any references to other companies or their products are for identification purposes only and are not intended to be an endorsement.


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