Tiger Takes Another Shot: PRP Put On The Spot

elon melesContributor IJune 22, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - JUNE 20:  Tiger Woods watches a shot during the final round of the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 20, 2010 in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Tiger Woods stepped up to the podium for his U.S. Open press conference and the focus was not on his golf game or his recent lack of. The central topic of conversation was a specialized orthopedic procedure called Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, better known as a PRP Injection.

During a PRP injection, a patient’s own blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge, concentrating the platelets, which are injected back in to the wound. These specially formed proteins accelerate tissue recovery and wound healing and provide powerful potential for healing tendon injuries and stemming the onset of osteoarthritis. The future of medicine, especially the field of orthopedics is increasingly looking towards cutting edge gene therapy and other biologic solutions to solve problems involving tendons, bones, ligaments and cartilage.

Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Manish Gupta offers complete consultations and PRP injections at the Sports Orthopedic Center of Boca Raton. He is a strong proponent of utilizing modern therapy procedures and acknowledges that the biology of the human body plays an intricate part in its potential healing process. Dr. Gupta has been involved with advanced modality therapies such as PRP since his fellowship at Johns Hopkins University and he continues to lead the field with his expertise and dedication.

Although the procedure still isn’t the go to therapy at this stage of the game, it appears to be the “who” involved and not the “what” that has brought this story to the public eye. The doctor in question is none other than Dr. Anthony Galea. The very same Dr. Galea whose name has been mentioned in performance enhancing drug scandals, and was recently arrested on charges of possessing Human Growth Hormone (HGH).

This appears to be just more bad luck for Woods. Would it be naïve to think it impossible for him to be involved with a shady character like Galea? Probably so, but in this case he may deserve the benefit of the doubt. If only Tiger had gone to see Dr. Gupta at SOC, we would only be speaking of by how many strokes he was going to pace the field at historic Pebble Beach.

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PRP is an emerging treatment in the new health sector known as Orthobiologics, something that a player of Tiger’s caliber would surely be well versed. Woods didn’t want to keep blaming his shoddy play on his bum knee, so he went to whatever lengths legally necessary to get back up to top shape. The greatest golfer to ever live isn’t the only professional athlete to procure a physician specializing in the procedure, with the Philadelphia Phillies ace pitcher Cliff Lee using it to help him to a World Series win in 2008. But although it is perfectly legal and ethical, and the FDA has approved its use within the field of orthopedic surgery, PRP injections still draw some strange glares from the public and press.

For more on Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy or PRP Injections please go to SportsOrthoCenter.com.

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