TL 14

Tom LaFountain

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 In the world of sports medicine many careers are saved by surgeries that correct traumatic damage to the body. Muscle tears, ligament damage, fractures, spinal disc herniations, and joint instabilities are a few of the areas frequently addressed with surgical intervention. It is not difficult to appreciate the need for corrections that only surgery can provide. The probability of physical breakdown is high in sports like football, hockey, baseball, basketball, and soccer. These sports demand that the body be capable of withstanding collisions, physical contact, and abrupt changes in body position as well as unexpected falls. The physical result of extreme soft tissue tears involving ligaments and muscles, as well as fractures, demands immediate correction. Stabilization at this stage of injury is crucial if the athlete stands a chance of returning to play. For acute traumatic incidences such as these surgery is the best choice.

  Although surgeries are performed regularly in all sports, overuse injuries may not always benefit from surgical intervention. At least not as a first choice. Golf, tennis, and track and field often require such repetitive stress and strain that musculoskeletal breakdown assessment can take on a much broader scope. There are primary overuse injuries whereby one body part simply gets "beaten up" from the direct stress of the sport. Think of the lower back with golf or the rotator cuff with tennis. When injuries of this nature present, the athlete and clinician must ask if the injury is at a level to require surgery and would it provide the best response to healing. These decisions are difficult to make for the professional athlete and their sports medicine specialist.

 Often in overuse sports, the source of pain is not where the primary dysfunction exists. A problem frequently exists elsewhere in the body that is promoting damage in the area of pain. If that painful area becomes severe enough that clinical dysfunction is evident, what is the best choice of treatment? Anti-inflammatory injections to hasten recovery? Surgery to clean debris from overuse breakdown of tissue? Comprehensive conservative care?

Time is extremely important to an aspiring professional golfer. Days lost are opportunities lost. Whether it be practice or competition, the process of becoming highly competitive is disrupted. It would be more time efficient to have a comprehensive assessment by a sports medicine specialist. 

Those who aspire to be involved with professional sports must be aware of global body function - prior to surgery and post surgery. Whether you chose to handle the findings yourself or refer to other specialists makes no difference. Your awareness and capability makes a difference. It will add to your ability to integrate into any healthcare program and earn the respect you deserve.

As an athlete, a golfer, you must search out those specialists that offer a comprehensive and detailed integrative approach. Specialists that provide an extensive backround in their field and are open to networking with other specialists to provide the best for you! 




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