James Gourley has a stack of wrestling medals from around the world, symbols of his athletic accomplishments during high school and college. There are medallions he received for earning All-American honors, another from when he was 16 and he represented Oregon on a cultural exchange team and traveled to South Africa. He was ranked fifth in the world when at 18, he qualified to attend the Olympic Training Center in Hungary.
He wrestled in junior college before injuries cost him his scholarship. At first, he pushed through the pain and continued wrestling. He even competed with ruptured discs in his neck, a broken femur and broken ribs.
“Unfortunately I don’t feel pain until it’s too late,” Gourley said.
Even then his toughness could have been masking symptoms of low-testosterone, which can decrease bone strength. Gourley recovered enough to work construction, as a wildland fire fighter, in the Alaskan fishing industry and at a sawmill.
“Pulling green chain made my decision to go back to school easy,” Gourley said.
With wrestling out of the picture, he turned to coaching to put himself through college, and he graduated with a degree in political science from Pacific University. But recurring injuries have kept him from working as he recovers from neck surgery, multiple knee surgeries and shoulder surgery. While muscle atrophy is common, Gourley, who once wrestled at 189 pounds, began to notice changes in his physique.
A friend encouraged him to talk to his doctor about his concerns.
Physiatrist Laura Rung, M.D., suspected it could be low testosterone, and referred Gourley to Endocrinologist Lindsay Bromley, M.D., at The Corvallis Clinic.
“I was a little nervous when I showed up. I wasn’t sure what to think,” Gourley recalled. “But they were friendly and made me feel comfortable.”
A simple blood test confirmed that he had low testosterone, or hypogonadism. Gourley began testosterone replacement treatment a few months ago. The convenience of care he receives at The Corvallis Clinic saves him from making multiple trips from Sweet Home to the doctor.
“Other places I’ve been would send me a letter with my lab results and I’d have to make an appointment to know what they meant,” Gourley said. “At The Corvallis Clinic, they call me and explain everything on the phone.”
Meanwhile, Gourley continues to recover from his shoulder surgery. He even started lifting weights again.
“I feel pretty well,” he said.
So good in fact that he’s even considered a return to coaching wrestling.