Whenever a mysterious injury plagues a high-profile athlete – especially one with a multi-million dollar salary – people start pointing fingers.
Thus was the case recently when New York Yankees pitcher and All-Star Phil Hughes suffered a strange arm injury that had team physicians baffled.
Essentially, for no apparent reason, Hughes lost five-to-eight miles off his fastball, which traditionally clocked in the upper 90s.
Initially, doctors thought it to be what’s known as “dead arm syndrome.” The syndrome is exactly what you’d suspect: the arm loses strength and can no longer accomplish tasks like throwing or hitting a tennis ball with normal efficacy and power. The injury can only be healed through surgery.
Regardless of what ultimately ails Hughes, two things are certain: one, an injury like dead arm syndrome is a persistent risk for baseball and tennis players; and two, you can be sure Yankee executives are asking their core strengthening and conditioning coaches how this could have happened.
The lesson is thus: never underestimate the importance of experienced and professional sports trainers.