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Does Society Benefit from Extreme Sports Medicine?

August 15th, 2014 by
Posted in Uncategorized

Sports InjuriesWe use sports as a metaphor for life in this country. Everyone loves a winner, and we seem to believe that success on the playing field relates to success in life in general. I think this is overblown. The lessons you learn in sports are definitely valid and transferable to other aspects of your life — perseverance, sacrifice, teamwork, goal setting, etc. However, the learning is often over long before the player (be they child or adult), stops playing.

We offer our star athletes the best of everything from an early age and are somehow surprised when it results in a self-centered attitude. Because we put our professional athletes on a pedestal, we must scramble to explain and justify when their transgressions are as monumental as their accomplishments. There is a lot of debate about the impact this has had on our society. Is society hurt or does it benefit from all the attention and resources devoted to professional athletes?

Well, for the moment, if we can set aside the larger issues of character and values, I think there is one area where the benefit has been enormous – medical advancement.

Would you pay 1 million dollars on experimental surgery for your grandmother?  Most of us couldn’t afford to. Would a team owner pay 5 million dollars for the top baseball pitcher or football running back to get that same experimental surgery, thereby saving their career? Now that’s a different story.  Many would pay much more than that.

So when Bo Jackson got hip replacement surgery, or when Tommy John got shoulder surgery, didn’t that pave the way for grandma’s surgery and Uncle Ricky’s surgery decades later? Of course it did.

I’ve recently known a number of people who have benefited by joint replacement surgery. Be it hip, ankle, knee, or other – it gave them a new lease on life – or at least on an active life.  Whether you are young or old, you are impacted by new surgery techniques – techniques that were often originally driven by a sports profit motive.  If it’s not you directly, then it’s your grandmother or favorite Uncle standing up and walking (or running), where they once would have been relegated to a much less active life.

So whether you think the newest draft choice is a spoiled brat or not – be thankful that they may be leading the way for your life-enhancing surgery years from now.

Here are a couple of Southern California surgeons I’d recommend:

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