After another season-ending spinal surgery Texas Ranger slugger Prince Fielder decided it was time to leave Major League Baseball. While not officially retiring, he will spend the next four years of his contract on the 60-day disabled list. Fielder’s injury was a herniation to his C4 and C5 discs and he was declared medically ineligible to continue playing.
For more information on Fielder’s sad farewell, click here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Fielder
Dr. Scott Kutz (https://texasback.com/doctors-profiles/doctor-kutz/) a spine surgeon at Texas Back Institute, has not treated Fielder in the past but offered some insights in an interview aired on KXAS, the NBC affiliate in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Options for a Herniated Disc
In a follow-up interview about the Fielder injury and his decision to undergo another surgery, Dr. Hisey explained the ballplayer’s options.
“The options for him at this point are either to extend the fusion up one level or opt for an artificial disc replacement,” Dr. Hisey said. “With the artificial disc replacement, he would have more range of motion and a faster recovery.
“When a disc herniates, as is the case with Prince, it pinches the adjacent nerve. When this nerve is affected, it can cause pain radiating into arms and cause weakness in the muscles that are powered by that nerve.
“In a baseball player, this herniated disc could affect the strength in his arms and therefore affect his strength when throwing and batting,” Dr. Hisey said.
“As I noted earlier, a patient experiencing a herniated disc has two options: a fusion of the damaged discs or a disc replacement. The biggest advantage of replacing with disc is that it doesn’t stop the motion at the level being treated. This means there is no extra stress being placed on the vertebrae above or below the injured one.
“When there is stress on the vertebrae above or below the one which is injured, there is a chance for degeneration of these discs in the future,” Dr. Hisey noted.
“Since I’m not the doctor treating Prince Fielder, I don’t have all of the information about his condition. Therefore, this is a very general overview of his condition and potential treatment.”
A Rash of Back Injuries
Many Ranger fans have been perplexed by Prince Fielder’s performance this season. His stats have not been good. Before his season ended, Fielder hit a career-low .212 with eight homers and 44 RBIs in 89 games this season. His playing with a herniated disc explains a great deal.
Some sports medicine experts have noted that back injuries are occurring in greater frequency in players who have unusual power in their swing or pitching delivery. For example, on the same week Fielder went to the DL, hard-hitting Ranger outfielder, Shin-Soo Choo and hard-throwing All-Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, all experienced back pain that will keep them in the dugout for the next few games. It remains to be seen if these injuries can be prevented by changing the hitting and throwing mechanics of these “power players.”
If you would like to view the interview with Dr. Hisey, just click on the video player below.
Professional baseball players undergo a great deal of wear and tear on their backs each season, but non-athletes can also experience a herniated disc. If you are feeling constant back pain, click here to schedule an appointment with the spine specialists at Texas Back Institute.