New York Yankees Operation Hero: Alex Rodriguez’s Doc Saves the Day

June 23, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Every year in the world of professional sports, a handful of heroes step up to the plate, line, or ice and come out on top of the world. Fans and press alike scream their praises at parades and press conferences, and images of them hoisting the hardware get plastered on every website, magazine cover, and television special. Children yearn to be in their shoes and parents often share the same dream.

To start off 2010, Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl victory. This season in the NHL, Jonathan Toews helped lead the Chicago Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup in over half a century. And most recently Kobe Bryant delivered his second straight NBA Championship to the Los Angeles Lakers. Since we are only halfway through the Major League Baseball season at the time this goes to press, a valiant hero has not yet been crowned for leading his team to the ultimate World Series goal.

But in the case of the defending and favored World Champion New York Yankees, their hero will never don the pinstripes or hit a home run.

Who is it, you ask?

Ten out 10 fans would tell you that it’s Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, or the self-proclaimed greatest player in the game today, Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez. But they would all be mistaken.

The average life span of a major league baseball career is 5.6 years. Tens of thousands never make it out of the purgatory that is minor league baseball, but the few that possess the talent to make it to the top don’t do it on their own. They have trainers and nutritionists and therapists to help keep them in game shape.

But the most unheralded of all of these team players are the miracle-working surgeons who put the broken pieces back together and extend the life of the dream that these young men live every day.

In the specific case of the Yankees’ biggest draw, that hero is Dr. Marc Phillippon.

After last season’s victory parade was over and the new Yankee Stadium was christened as the next historical monument, reality set in and a dark cloud overcame the Bronx. Something was wrong with A-Rod. He suddenly had the hip flexibility of an 80-year-old man and replacement surgery was seen clearly on the horizon.

Something had to be done for his Yankee legacy to be preserved, and up steps world-renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Phillippon to the plate.

Internationally known for leading the field in joint preservation techniques and utilizing orthopedic hip surgery to treat painful joint injuries of top tier professional athletes, he has prolonged the careers of golfer Greg Norman, hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, All-Pro NFL running back Priest Holmes, and World Series Champion Luis Castillo.

The particular miracle he performed on A-Rod is called hip arthroscopy. Rodriguez had a torn labrum in his right hip and was systematically destroying his joint, socket, and femur bone with the extreme stresses of everyday play. While he was digging down in the box waiting for a fastball to launch 400 feet, the tremendous pressure on his aging anchor leg was getting to where the breaking point was well within reality. Dr. Phillippon performed the hour-and-half-long surgery at his office in Vail, Colorado, and reported that it was an absolute success.

But was it really, or had the damage already been done?

Rodriguez has struggled this season with a batting average almost 30 points lower than his career .304 clip. He’s on pace to hit fewer than 30 home runs, his lowest output in a dozen years. But it’s clear that since his major league debut in 1994 his presumably pristine physique has been heading downhill. Since the performance enhancing era has come and gone, players have to rely on modern medicine and honest surgeons to keep them coming back for more.

Dr. Phillippon and Rodriguez have ties that extend past their recent offseason meetings in the operating room. One honed his skills on the ball field and the other in the medical classrooms of the University of Miami. During his tenure at Jackson Memorial Hospital, the doctor passed on his vast knowledge of orthopedics to many future surgeons.

One in particular is Dr. Manish Gupta of Sports Orthopedic Center in Boca Raton.

After graduating from Coral Springs High School in South Florida and the University of Florida in Gainesville, Dr. Gupta wanted to return home to Miami and learn his trade from the best of the best. After soaking up all of Dr. Phillippon’s knowledge and expertise he continued on to Seton Hall and Johns Hopkins Universities to finish his training before joining the medical staff of the NFL Baltimore Ravens.

Dr. Gupta has come full circle and now practices “miracles” of his own at the Sports Orthopedic Center in his home community of Boca Raton.

A-Rod owes the extension of his Hall of Fame career to Dr. Phillippon and there are many others in the same position, just at lower level of notoriety. But you don’t have to be a professional athlete or celebrity to receive the same level of knowledge and treatment as Rodriguez.  Every athlete or sports enthusiast can get the same surgery performed by a certified student of the world leader in the field. Dr. Gupta is proud to utilize the tools he learned from his mentor and friend and pass them on to the South Florida patients in need of his services.

For more information on hip arthroscopy and other surgeries and services provided by Dr. Gupta and his staff at Sports Orthopedic Center please go to SportsOrthoCenter.com .

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