Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tiger Woods' Risky Business

Let me start out by saying that Tiger Woods' performance last weekend was legendary. He battled through pain that caused him to drive inconsistently off the tee... but Tiger is so good he still ended up winning in dramatic fashion.

Now, it's been announced that Tiger tore his ACL back in July 2007 before his crazy winning streak. It also was announced that the cartiliage damage developed from the ACL injury.

I actually tore my ACL playing basketball a number of years ago. I just want to stress the fact that the fact that Tiger won so many tournaments on a torn ACL is not that amazing. I'm assuming Tiger tore his ACL and had what is referred to as a "pain-free" tear, meaning that he had not torn the cartilidge or anything else. So long as you do not perform any hard cuts (e.g. tennis, basketball would not work), Tiger could continue to be fine... of course the problem is that having a torn ACL and swinging a golf club as hard as possible inevitably will create strain on the cartilidge and eventually tear the cartilidge (as it happened to Tiger). Just to explain, the cartilidge is the padding in the knee, and as you tear it up, there's no known way to replace it, meaning that Tiger is losing the padding in his knee with each successive surgery. My doctor a number of years ago told me I could forego surgery, avoid sports like tennis, and hope that I ended up not tearing any cartilidge. I opted for the surgery of course, but it was not a hard decision since I was not in the middle of a professional sports season.

What's amazing for Tiger? These last two weeks, when he finally WAS IN PAIN, and yet still preservered. However, I can't help but think how foolish this all was. If he really did not have any cartilidge damage at first (in July 2007), then he basically risked his entire future golf seasons all for the last 10 months. Not a good tradeoff in my opinion, especially in golf where one can be dominant for many seasons. Nonethless, let's just all hope there's enough cartilidge left in his knee for him to return to his old form without any pain.

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