April 4, 2013
Derrick Hill: Africa's Master
By Candice Tehini

"To be a part of (the) CrossFit Games was a dream come true."

Derrick Hill, 62, is the only man who has represented Africa in the Masters competition. With a true ‘never-say-die’ attitude, he is an inspriation for those in the region who enjoy the sport of CrossFit.

Last year, Hill placed 12th worldwide in the Open in the Masters 60+ Division and traveled to Carson, Calif., to compete at the CrossFit Games.

“My experience was phenomenal,” he says. “To be part of (the) CrossFit Games was a dream come true.”

But it was not an easy feat. Just a few weeks before the Games, Hill was experiencing severe hip pain.

“I was very aware of the discomfort, but I tried to work through it all the time,” he says. “I must admit, I did compensate by favoring the opposite side, and it seemed to work for a while,” Hill admits.

But in early September 2012, he went to see his doctor and was advised to undergo a hip replacement. 

Hill opted for the surgery.

“I had the op on the 29th, November 2012. It was a Thursday,” he remembers. “I was up on a walker on the Friday and discharged on the Saturday morning on crutches.”

Hill’s recovery was remarkable and even his doctor was impressed with how rapidly he was progressing.

“Within four weeks, the implant had taken 100 percent. On seeing the video at the 12-week check-up, my doctor could not believe what I was able to do.”

Hill was back at training at B4C CrossFit just one week after the operation. He was doing upper-body workouts at first, and later added cycling to his workouts. By the beginning of 2013, he was at full activity.  

“I avoided any exercise that pulled on the extension of the hip joint or turned it at awkward angles,” he says. “Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of exercises that can be done with no problem to the area at all.”

“My hip feels good, but there are certain movements, mostly the squatting ones, where due to the rigidity of the implant, I am not able to open up to the full extension easily. As far as the soft tissue healing goes, my doc says that recovery will take a lot longer. I do still feel pain in that area, but it is a pain I can train with, not like the pre-op pain,” Hill says with a smile.

This year Hill is looking to qualify for the 60+ Masters category again. Currently, he sits in 34th place worldwide. His motto is to never give up.

“If you don't make it on the first round there are always future ones you can better yourself on.”