By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor
COOKEVILLE – For most people a hand injury four weeks before your wedding would be a major inconvenience, but for Dr. Shawn Stachler, a Purdue trained mechanical engineer, it changed the entire direction of his life.
Before the hand injury, medicine was far from the mind of Stachler. He had always enjoyed working with his hands. Growing up the son of a dad who worked construction and a mom who did interiors, it was only natural that he would enjoy “tinkering on stuff.”
For three years, mechanical engineering was the perfect outlet to study how things work and to create new products. In his spare time, Stachler channeled his parents’ talents and remodeled houses for resale. As he was changing a blade on a lawn mower at one of these houses, the blade slipped and cut his hand badly.
“The surgeon did a terrific job fixing things up,” explained Stachler. “It was four weeks before my wedding. I was super grateful and started looking into it. I decided to quit engineering and did a year and a half of pre-med.”
That injury completely changed his life. Stachler started med school in Fall 2009 at A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“One of the general practitioners back home was an osteopath, so I started looking into it. Osteopaths do the same surgical procedures. They have all the same classes, school, testing and licensure. We just learn a little physical therapy as well. We learn some extra manipulation.”
While in med school, he developed some new hobbies.
“I got into doing triathlons in medical school,” he said. “I did a half Iron-man in New Orleans Spring 2012 and a full-length Ironman triathlon in Oklahoma City Fall 2012. I finished the Ironman in 14 hours, 5 minutes and it consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a full-length marathon 26.2 all back to back. Sadly, I haven’t done much since…”
The training Stachler did for triathlons gives him a great understanding of the actual physical effort an athlete’s body goes through. This understanding combined with his knowledge of mechanical engineering and his medical training gives Stachler the perfect background for orthopedics.
Stachler and his wife, Cassie, a pharmacist, have two sons who are 7 and 8. In his spare time, he enjoys working on vehicles and building motorcycles for resale. His ultimate goal is to build his own four-seater plane.
Stachler will be seeing patients at Tier 1 Orthopedics at 105 S. Willow Ave. in Cookeville. He may be reached by calling 931-526-9518.