In October 1992, Rick Morris found himself on Lake Guntersville in the thick of a Bassmaster Megabucks competition. Five years later, he was fishing in the Bassmaster Classic at Lake Logan Martin, and 21 years after that, he did the same at Lake Hartwell. In between, Morris finished second at the 2006 event on Lake Toho and logged an unfathomable number of miles both on the road and behind the wheel of his bass boat.
“I went pro at 30,” the chipper, 57-year-old Elite Series veteran recounts. “I’ve had three trucks that each logged over 300,000 miles on them. I’ve spent five and a half years in the truck seat, and in over 250 B.A.S.S. events, I’ve spent that much time or more in the boat.”
For Morris, those miles and those casts have added up to decades’ worth of nagging injuries, but none more serious than arthritis in his thumb, diagnosed about 10 years ago.
Sure, a thumb injury sounds petty. However, try to go bass fishing without the use of this opposable digit and you quickly realize how important it is. If arthritis attacks this particular finger, the results can be devastating.
Ask Morris about the condition, and he’ll tell you a horror story. To this day, he recalls the grizzly details in a squeamish tone. “It really started to bother me in my mid-40s. At first, I noticed my left-hand thumb began to get sore in practice. I would find myself in pain during practice, wondering how I was going to make it through the tournament.”
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