Liberty Christian wide receiver Henri DeRoche photographed wearing a school football shirt and holding a football in front of his body

Teen with Hall of Fame genes overcomes back-to-back surgeries

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Two major shoulder injuries won’t sack the football career of Liberty Christian wide receiver Henri DeRoche, who has Dallas Cowboys royalty on the sidelines, a Hall of Fame pitcher in his family, and a dedicated medical team at Methodist Southlake Medical Center to lean on.

“They were very thorough about everything,” Henri’s mother, Kelly DeRoche, says of a clinical team led by Casey R. Stuhlman, MD, orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Southlake. “It was a team effort.”

Team sports mean a lot to the DeRoche family: Kelly’s father is Baltimore Orioles legend Jim Palmer, and Henri’s dad, David, played football, too. So it’s no wonder the 16-year-old is so determined to get back to playing for his coach at the Argyle private school, former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

“I’ve been playing football for a long time,” says Henri, who admits most of his year is devoted to practice and training. “It’s like culture here in Texas. It means a lot.”

Liberty Christian wide receiver Henri DeRoche photographed holding and about to throw a football toward a person facing Henri in the foreground

Henri plays catch with his father, David DeRoche.


After countless hours in the gym, Henri is working his way toward an injury-free 2024 season following two straight seasons that ended with the same shoulder being dislocated.

“I can do everything with my left shoulder again,” he says, six months removed from his last surgery. “The staff at Methodist was amazing. Everyone was nice and treated me well.”

The latest injury happened in August 2023 during a freak accident in practice. Henri had worked his way back from a shoulder subluxation his sophomore season, an injury where the humerus bone partially slides in and out of place quickly.

“Everything was feeling good, and I was comfortable again,” he recalls following arthroscopic surgery at a different hospital in December 2022.

But after a collision with his teammates in his junior season, Henri felt his shoulder slide and an immediate sense of déjà vu. Similar to the first dislocation, he attempted to play through the pain before realizing the severity of his injury.

“It was hurting pretty bad,” he says. “I knew it was different than the first time.”

Liberty Christian wide receiver Henri DeRoche photographed with his mom Kelly and an older man

Henri with his mother, Kelly, and father David


Shortly afterward, a visit to the team doctor and an MRI scan would confirm Henri’s fears that this tear was worse than before.

“The second injury was worse because he tore more labrum,” Dr. Stuhlman says, referring to the thick cartilage that keeps the ball firmly in the shoulder socket.

After several conversations about their options, Henri and his family decided on open surgery in October 2023 — Henri’s second left shoulder operation in less than a year.

With open surgery, the chances of a future dislocation are lower than with minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. However, recovery can take longer because of lingering stiffness in the joint.

“We do what’s called a capsular shift,” Dr. Stuhlman says, describing the surgery. “We open the shoulder and we repair the labrum by putting it back down with anchors again. It’s kind of like belts over suspenders; that really tightens it down. That’s why the recurrence rate is significantly less.”

While his injuries were painful, that pain and his work to rehabilitate the injury was nothing compared to how much it hurt Henri to watch from the sidelines.

“It’s disappointing because he works so hard,” his mother says, “and you see the time, energy, and how loyal he is to the football program.”

Liberty Christian wide receiver Henri DeRoche photographed wearing a school Warrior football shirt and holding a football at his side

Henri is looking forward to getting back on the field for his senior season at Liberty Christian.


This time around, Henri and his family were more patient, putting a greater emphasis on rotator cuff strength and building the smaller muscles in the shoulder.

“He didn’t get down on himself when it happened,” Dr. Stuhlman says. “He just took it as ‘Okay, this happened, what’s next?’ and athletes with that mentality generally do very well.”

Now cleared to begin all non-contact football drills, Henri relishes the opportunity to get back on the field and give everything to the game.

“I miss being able to play and share experiences with my teammates,” he says.