Is There Such a Thing as Injury-Prone Athletes?

2016-05-16 10:52:22 by Dr. Joe Congeni - Director of Sports Medicine, as posted on the blog.

Beanie Wells Beanie Wells

There’s been a lot of talk recently about two local sports heroes: Kyrie Irving and Beanie Wells. Both have frequented our top sports news stories of the day due to chronic injuries.

Today, I had the chance to speak with WAKR’s host Ray Horner about recent news of Kyrie who just separated his shoulder and Beanie Wells who got cut from the Arizona Cardinals due to chronic injuries.

Injuries like Kyrie’s can be healed fairly easily through sports medicine, but degenerative-type injuries we just don’t do as well with in medicine. Below is a transcript of our discussion.

Horner: It’s 8:53 a.m., Dr. Joe Congeni from Sports Medicine Center at Akron Children’s Hospital is now onboard with us. Joe, what do you have on the table today?

Dr. Joe Congeni Dr. Joe Congeni

Dr. Congeni: Hey, Ray. I want to talk briefly about this issue of chronic injury or injury-prone athletes. Sometimes, there’s a lot of science behind it; sometimes it’s just good fortune and good luck. A couple situations I want to talk about.

First of all, I think it even applies to free agency. , as you were looking at which free agents came off the board the quickest, Ray, it was the younger athletes, but also those who really had very little injury history.

My brother was telling me yesterday, he heard this quote from Tony Dungy, “The most important ability sometimes in sports is availability.” When people are hurt, no matter how good they are, they’re not helping your team. In high school we see it, college and especially in the pros. So the most important ability sometimes is availability.

Part of the reason I bring that up today is two local heroes have been in the injury news and sports medicine news . Kyrie (Irving of the Cleveland Cavs), of course, has had a lot of injuries, and he separated his left shoulder the other night. We saw that.

And then we also heard that Beanie Wells (of the Arizona Cardinals) got cut. The Beanie Wells story for us — you and I — we saw him as a young kid. I saw him as a junior high kid and then a high school kid. You knew he had tremendous ability — such tremendous ability that you know he could have been one of the great (running) backs of all time. But, you remember that he started even having injuries in high school and then some big injuries that took him out at Ohio State and now again in the pros: He couldn’t stay on the field. And I feel so bad for the young man.

On the other hand, for Kyrie, it might just be that he’s so young and his body hasn’t matured yet. As he gets stronger and he gains five pounds, 10 pounds, some of these nagging injuries will go away.

Just one point on that, certain injuries that are stability injuries like a separated shoulder — a ligament injury — the body will heal those, surgery can heal those. Injuries, though, that are more degenerative where the joints are wearing out, we’re not so good in sports medicine at some of those.

As you’ve seen all the guys that had microfracture surgery and PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections, you think about Amar’e Stoudemire (New York Knicks), you think about Grady Sizemore (former Cleveland Indians player), you think a little about Beanie Wells. Unfortunately, he can’t stay on the field. Those kinds of injuries in sports medicine we don’t do as well with.

Horner: Alright, Joe, good stuff. Thanks for the time as always, my friend. We’ll talk to you soon.

Dr. Congeni: Alright, Ray. Have a great week.

Horner: You too. Bye now, Joe.

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