Professional Athletes Use Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has come a long way in just a few short years in the treatment of sports injuries. Now most sports organizations, trainers and players recognize the importance of PRP in their respective sports. Treating professional athletes with PRP is a common practice designed to encourage healing and reduce downtime.
In many cases, PRP therapy is recognized as a suitable alternative to having surgery. Enhancing the body’s natural healing mechanism with platelet rich plasma therapy seems to have a very strong appeal. As PRP therapy continues to demonstrate remarkable results, demand from professional athletes and the general public will continue to increase.
National Football League
In the NFL, the players have become so accustomed to treating injuries with PRP that the process has become routine.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in his final season tore his right triceps in a game Oct. 14, 2012 against Dallas. Normally a season ending injury, Lewis had PRP therapy to help him heal and prepare for the playoffs. He returned for the Ravens’ first playoff game against the Colts. He led the team with 13 tackles while wearing a brace on his wounded arm.
The following week, Lewis registered 17 tackles against the Broncos, again leading the team. When Baltimore defeated Tom Brady and the Patriots, leading the Ravens to the AFC championship and a trip to the Super Bowl, Ray Lewis again had the most tackles with 14. If you’re keeping track, that’s 44 tackles in three playoff games for a 37 year old linebacker. Lewis has obviously shown what it takes to go out a champion.
Before Super Bowl XLIII on Feb 1, 2009, Pittsburgh’s wide receiver Hines Ward was administered PRPfor a torn MCL in his knee and defensive safety Troy Polamalu had PRP performed on his MCL injury. Both men went on to have solid starts helping their team to victory against the Arizona Cardinals.
Chris Canty, a defensive tackle with the New York Giants, underwent PRP treatment for a torn hamstring and has attributed his accelerated healing to the therapy he received.
Wide receiver Andre Johnsonof theHouston Texans used PRP therapy to speed his recovery after suffering an ankle injury in 2010 and a hamstring injury in 2011.
Major League Baseball
World class athletes know that an injury requiring surgery will undoubtedly bring their season to an end. In an effort to “evade the blade”, so to speak, athletes and their trainers choose to undergo PRP therapy to bolster the body’s ability to heal itself. When surgery is necessary, PRP therapy is used afterwards to help speed the healing process.
Ian Kinsler – about a week after the 2011 World Series, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right ankle which heinjured before the beginning of the 2010 season. He received platelet-rich plasma therapy afterwards to help accelerate the healing process. Kinsler said it was the first time he felt 100% in a long time.
Nelson Cruz – after an MRI revealed that Cruz had strained his left hamstring in late August of 2011, the team physician administered an injection of platelet-rich plasma to stimulate healing.
One of the most recognizable players in Major League Baseball is New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod received several treatments of PRP following hip surgery in an effort to stimulate healing. Consequently, Rodriguez was able to return to the line-up much earlier than anticipated and credited his speedy recovery to PRP therapy. A-Rod underwent another series of PRP treatments in December of 2011 to successfully alleviate the pain associated with his knee and shoulder injuries.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Takashi Saito received PRP therapy after partially tearing an ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow in 2008. Ordinarily, an injury of that magnitude requires season ending “Tommy John” surgery. Following the PRP treatments, the 38 year old Saito was able to fully recover and was pitching again within a few weeks.
After pitcher Cliff Lee injured his abdomen during a warm-up while playing for the Seattle Mariners in 2008, he underwent PRP therapy which hastened his recovery and substantially reduced the time he spent on the disabled list.
National Basketball Association
One of the NBA’s brightest superstars, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has had more than his share of knee injuries and pain, including numerous arthroscopic surgeries. After nagging pain in his right knee started to slow him down again, Bryant was facing the prospect of yet another arthroscopic surgery. He tried PRP therapy and was quickly made a believer by how fast PRP healed his injury, took away the pain, and best of all for Kobe, didn’t require surgery. Back at the top of his game, Kobe said he feels as good as he did when he was 27 years old.
In 2008, Tracy McGrady suffered a knee injury while playing for the Houston Rockets that almost ended his career. McGrady was given several treatments of PRP therapy in the hope it would heal his knee and allow him to play again. Now with the Atlanta Hawks, the seven-time NBA All-Star has made quite a comeback saying he played this season entirely pain free and went on to state, “Had I not done that procedure, there’s no way I would have continued playing in the NBA.”
Professional Golf Association
Arguably the most famous beneficiary of PRP, Tiger Woods received multiple PRP treatments on his knee to alleviate nagging pain following knee surgery to repair a torn ACL after he won the U.S. Open on one leg back in 2008. In the 2012 season, he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Memorial and the AT&T National, his first victories on the PGA tour since 2009.
Until he discovered PRP therapy, professional golfer Fred Couples was almost forced into retirement from excruciating and debilitating back pain. Since his treatments, the 1992 Masters champion has won eight times on the Champion’s Tour including the 2011 Senior Players Championship and the 2012 Senior British Open.
World tennis sensation Rafael Nadal underwent PRP therapy in both of his knees for chronic knee tendonitis. Since his treatments he has gone on to win a number of Grand Slam events.
Major League Soccer
Soccer players are also embracing the healing potential of PRP therapy. Jonathan Bornstein was one of the first soccer players in the USA to undergo PRP therapy. During a game, he twisted his knee which resulted in a torn ligament. Facing the disheartening prospect of being out for 10 weeks, Bornstein elected to have PRP therapy for his knee injury. Within three weeks, he had begun running and was ready to resume playing soccer just two weeks later.