Senior Drummers - be very careful!


Senior Member
This is a wake up call to all the older drummers out there. I'm 70 years old. 4 weeks ago I was unloading my gear for a band rehearsal. One of my hardware bags was stuck in the back of the car. I leant in and gave it a quick and strong pull - then I felt a crunchy snap in my right shoulder. I then went to move my arm - couldn't move it up past my waist nor sideways out from my waist. X rays and and Ultrasound 2 weeks ago revealed that I had pulled 2 of the rotator cuff tendons off the bone. I've seen a specialist shoulder surgeon who will put 6 - 8 " anchors" in my shoulder bone and attach fibres to the tendons and pull them back on the bone. 8 weeks of immobilisation in a frame, 8 weeks of getting strength back and then 8 weeks to get flexibility back. The surgeon is confident I will get the full range of movement back after this. He says 70% of people over 70 get rotator cuff issues.We all mention on here the issues with heavy hardware bags - I'm not looking for any sympathy as quite frankly there are people with much more severe health conditions than this and I will get it fixed - just be careful folks and look after yourself.
Sorry to hear about your injury. That IS a wakeup call.

Wonder what we can do to hold those injuries at bay (besides not lifting hardware bags)?
Sorry to hear about it! That’s gotta hurt. Maybe you guys should do what I do: split the hardware up into smaller bags or cases. I have a 24” trap case that carries the heavy stuff, but my Crosstown hardware all fits into a small 22” tool bag I got at the Home Depot. So I move two lighter containers instead of one heavy container.

I’ve even transitioned to a rolling cymbal vault case these days. I thought a big cymbal bag with six cymbals in it was heavy on my shoulder when I was 20!
Oh man I am really sorry to hear, like most I to have had issues with lifting or moving. When I had the PHX and Hex Rack I was moving it all around and with one twist to pick up the 10" I did my back. Ending up walking like ET and screaming from help from my wife really put me on my ass for at least a week.
I bought a drum kit from an old fella who was in a walking frame and nearly completely deaf.

With the drum kit was two small duffel bags with the hardware, they looked like they were from an Army supply store because they are a certain green. They put the $200 Ahead armour hardware case I just bought to shame, so much lighter and portable.
Sorry to hear that. I carry my hardware in two bags and have for years. I try to be as mindful when lifting the large one as possible.
I am 62 and I have been diligent in working to lighten my load for years with the added benefit of liking the sound of my cymbals with the lighter weight cymbal stands than with the heavy double brace stands .

I use the Tama Classic Series stands for the majority of my rehearsals and gigs and atypically use a four piece kit only . I recently picked up the INDe drums ultralight drum throne and the jury is out on that one right now . It is super light for sure and pretty comfortable for rehearsals .

Like the OP I have had my share of strains and aches from the load in and out , so I take extra care and ensure I always have the Rock N Roller Cart with me .
Now I'm in my 60s I'm definitely downsizing my gear for both drums and bass. I've got an Ekit and although there's lots to it, it's lots of small things and the speaker gets put on a trolley... although D class amps means it's not that heavy. As for acoustic, I've decided to go Whitney nesting penguins.... all the drums nested together weigh 30lbs.
Good thread. It's gonna happen to a lot of us. Sorry that such a dramatic event happened to the OP..

I started having tears in my 50s. They're naggingly painful.
Starting strength training at an older age will bring these smaller tears up that were gonna happen anyway. I've witnessed it in friends.
Still, it's good advice to strength train.

I didn't experience what the OP has (yet?). The good news to share for some is that even painful tears could just be small, because they haven't been debilitating for me once all the pain is gone. Maybe others will fare as well. And perhaps don't be immediately alarmed or rush in to surgery. A physical therapist tested me in Feb 2022 after another car wreck injury to the other shoulder in Nov 2021 and performed an ultrasound. He said strength was normal in my cuffs.

So they must've been small tears I experienced.
I had a SLAP tear several years back. Ugly... I was pulling a compound bow that I had set too heavy. Go big or go home I thought. Yeah I went home.

I was told that shoulder injuries like this and Rotator Cuff tears are almost always come as result of a pulling motion.
I've aggravated mine by hammering stakes in the ground for survey work. Bending over and hammering them downward.

I had an assumed tear injury when jumping down from a fence. I had a long stick planted on the ground for stability and jumped down landing on a sloped slick surface. When my feet slipped I caught myself with that planted walking stick a d something tore. Had to sit there for several minutes until the pain subsided.