After conferring with doctors, Luke Clausen decided a medical hardship for the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series was his only choice.
Clausen, 39, suffered multiple injuries after falling headfirst out of a loft onto a concrete floor on April 17. He initially wanted to return to fish this season, but realized he’d miss too many events to have a chance to requalify for next season.
It’s extremely disappointing for the Otis Orchards, Wash., angler, who began the season with a fifth-place finish on Lake Martin.
“At this point, I can’t even cast or do anything,” he said. “When it all started, maybe I’m just a little bruised up and I’ll be able to make it through with broken ribs and a separated shoulder. The realization came that’s not going to happen.
“I saw an orthopedic doctor. They’re saying best-case scenario my left arm is immobilized for 6 weeks. I got five broken ribs, which seem to be more painful as things go on. I guess I’m going to miss enough of the season where I couldn’t requalify by showing up.”
Clausen, who also suffered a concussion, has a grade 3 separation of his AC joint in his left shoulder and hopes to avoid surgery by keeping it immobilized. The hope of rejoining the Elites was dashed by his prognosis. He would miss three tournaments in the next four weeks, then would only begin rehabbing his arm about the time the rescheduled Sabine event is to take place.
“I hope to get back on water in June and start getting some strength back in my arm,” he said. “I’m pretty sure when I do start using this arm it’s going to be pretty weak after not doing anything for a month and half.”
Another scary aspect he’s discovered by reading online reports is the varied amount of time people say it takes ribs to heal. Some say it takes around a month and others say “3 years down the road it still hurts when you cough.”
Clausen said he’s fortunate his wife, Kallin, has been home to help take care of him.
“She’s got another infant,” he said, referring to himself and daughter, Stella, who just turned 1. “She’s stay at home, right now, thankfully. I need her here to get around. What a savior!”
The only event Clausen, who won the 2006 Classic on Lake Toho, believes he’ll be able to compete in this year is the U.S. Open on Lake Mead in October.
Mark Davis, another Classic champion, took a medical hardship this month after undergoing hip replacement surgery. Jesse Tacoronte, who had surgery to repair herniated discs in his neck and lower back in February, took a medical hardship before the season began.
The Elite field is now at 108.