Alex Rodriguez is a well known professional baseball player. A star for the New York Yankees, he’s also played for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. Nicknamed, A-Rod, Rodriguez is considered one of the game’s best all-around-players, Rodriguez holds a number of records. He is the youngest player to reach 500 and than 600 homeruns and the only one to have had 14 seasons with 100 RBIs. As to be expected, Rodriguez has battled various injuries over the years and has used a variety of treatments and surgical procedures to remedy them, one being PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy.
Alex Rodriguez and PRP Therapy
Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy has been used by professional athletes and laymen alike. Aside from A-Rod, other famous athletes who have given the semi-experimental treatment a try include golf mega-star Tiger Woods and baseball pitchers Takashi Saito and Cliff Lee. Many athletes have experienced great results but not every one of them has. The procedure has been very effective for some and less than impressive results for others, though no harmful effects have ever been reported.
Alex Rodriguez used PRP therapy after he underwent hip surgery in 2009. He had a total of five PRP therapy sessions, after which he reportedly felt great. PRP therapy helped speed up the healing process so that A-Rod was able to return to the field earlier than he and the team’s doctor anticipated.
PRP therapy is a fairly new procedure and a trailblazer of sorts in what has been labeled “Orthobiologics,” a practice which utilizes a person’s natural ability to heal itself, in the case of PRP therapy, the body’s own platelets. This is powerful, new form of medicine that takes a more natural approach.
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy, as mentioned above, is considered to be an experimental (or semi-experimental) therapy. Though it is growing in popularity and it is increasingly requested by both professional athletes and weekend warriors, it has yet to become a common form of therapy to treat sports-related injuries.
A pretty simplistic process, PRP therapy involves the separation of the platelets from other components of the blood. Blood is made up of white blood cells, red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Platelets help the blood clot and also secrete growth factors, which are healing proteins. Amongst other things, growth factors help to speed up wound and tissue healing. By separating out the platelets and injecting them into the area of the body where a person is injured, the speed in which that area heals is believed to be improved.
Platelets are separated from the other components of the blood after first being drawn from the patient and than placed in a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood and separates it. It is then injected back into the body, at the point of injury. In A-Rod’s case, it was injected into his surgically-repaired hip, where it helped to speed up the recovery process. A-Rod was able to return back to the field ahead of schedule.
The effectiveness of PRP Therapy is still being debated. There are those in support of it and others who are not. Many of those who have actually undergone it swear by it. Professional athletes that have had a good experience and been vocal about it, which has helped fuel its popularity amongst the fraternity of professional athletes and now the general public.