By Abby Sims
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I’m all for the glass being half full, silver linings and making lemonade, but I’m having a lot of difficulty understanding the optimism in the reporting of injuries in pro sports these days.
It generally isn’t the media at fault, but I question the wisdom of the collective universe of team spokespeople and medical departments. Unless the motivation is to mess with the heads of fantasy team managers, which is highly unlikely, why tell us players are questionable when there has to be no doubt.
Why take it day-to-day when week-to-week or month-to-month is more like it? Is management setting the players up for unrealistic expectations or just us fans. Is this supposed to be a motivating tool? If so, I don’t think it is working.
With my background in rehab, if reporting has been accurate, and even without the opportunity to personally assess an injury, I am rarely fooled. Ask my husband — I am always muttering when I read the injury reports — first because I hate to see anyone hurt, and second because the outcomes of competition will obviously be influenced accordingly.
Most disconcerting is the feeling I have that many players will push themselves to return too soon. Maybe it’s a contract year. Perhaps there is a back-up who’ll be given the chance to shine. Or it could simply be that losing just isn’t in the vocabulary. Then there’s the ridiculous “no pain, no gain” mantra.
Players want to play.
However, that doesn’t make it sensible to assume muscle strains will heal in a couple of weeks or that a neck injury that entails neurologic symptoms (see Peyton Manning) can be managed while the player sits out practice, or even worse, doesn’t! We’ve seen every kind of example, even when there hasn’t been time to assess a player’s healing response (i.e., Ike Davis).
Clearly money is a factor, and player contracts as well as the desire to win can override sensibility. Just look at what it’s taken to finally take concussions seriously.
In this age of “need to know” and instantaneous reporting, we sometimes even see predictions before an accurate diagnosis is made (Ike Davis again comes to mind). What ever happened to saying “We’ll let you know when we have all the information?” Why isn’t that enough?
Timetables for recovery only work if we know what is going on, allow for the body’s necessary natural healing response, see how the initial phase of recovery is progressing and have a motivated patient without medical complications coming into play. It isn’t magic but there is an element of guesswork. I’ve always found it better to err on the side of conservative estimations that may need to be upgraded during the rehab process.
Better to exceed them than not live up to them.
I’m also confused about pitchers returning from surgery, rehab and rehab starts just in time to close out a season that isn’t playoff bound. As they say on Saturday Night Live, “What’s up with that?” An entire off-season awaits and there is no prize for rehabbing fastest.
The prize of winning and career longevity may be thwarted by pushing the limits of recovery when there is no real need.
What do you think? Be heard in the comments below…
Follow Abby on Twitter @abcsims