At one time, Bartolo Colon was one of the professional baseball’s most durable pitchers. That would change after the 2005 season, when he began to suffer from the wear, tear, and injuries commonly associated with his position. In 2010, he was forced to miss the entire season after undergoing elbow surgery. Today, Colon is one of the Major League Baseball’s most inspirational stories. What looked like a sure end to a career is now a resurgence. Colon is currently pitching for the storied New York Yankees. He is able to do so after undergoing two experimental procedures, PRP and stem cell treatment in 2010.
Bartolo Colon and PRP Treatment
Joseph R. Purita, Segio Guzman, Hector Rosario and Leonel Liriano offered Colon the opportunity to undergo stem cell treatment and PRP therapy for his injured elbow and shoulder. Colon’s rotator cuff as well as tendons and ligaments in his elbow were damaged. Each of the aforementioned procedures took less then an hour and was performed in lieu of surgery. Not having surgery was beneficial in a number of ways. There were fewer side effects, less risks and the recovery time was significantly shortened.
The procedures, done in concert, proved to be effective. Today, Colon is back. He is able to once again throw his mid-nineties per hour fast ball, something that seemed to be impossibility just a year ago. Colon said he wanted to get back into baseball,” Purita recalled. “He could not throw the ball without horrible pain, but he felt he still had something left in the can, so to speak. I told Colon this will be a lot less painful than facing Derek Jeter. He said: ‘Derek Jeter? He has never been a problem for me. I always strike him out.”
According to the one of the doctors that performed the procedure, Sergio Guzman, “We have not invented anything, nor have we done anything new,” “This is being done the world over…” Guzman is correct. Though PRP therapy and stem cell treatment is considered an experimental treatment method in the United States, it is regularly used in other parts of the world.
PRP therapy is noted for its lack of invasiveness, its effectiveness and its simplicity. It harnesses the body’s ability to heal itself. It accelerates the process by “stacking” the process.” For instance, the body utilizes growth factors to promote healing. PRP therapy involves collecting a concentration of platelets and injecting them into the site of an individual’s injury.
Platelets are extracted from the patient’s blood, in which a small amount of drawn. The blood is drawn into a test tube and placed in a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the blood and separates its components. Again, the platelets are retrieved and injected back into the patient. They were injected into both Colon’s elbow and shoulder. The stem cell treatment Colon underwent included the extraction of stem cells from his own bone marrow and fat. Both procedures help repair Colon’s partially torn rotator cuff and ligament damage in his elbow and shoulder.
Soon after Bartolo Colon’s return to the Major League Baseball, he went 2-1 and had an earned run average of 3.81. He was also named one of New York Yankee’s starting pitchers. The 37 year old was indeed back and in a major way.
Timeline of Events—
- Bartolo Colon injured his elbow during the latter part of the 2009’s MLB season.
- Bartolo Colon was treated in April 2010 for elbow and shoulder injuries by a team of doctors. His rotator cuff was partially torn and there was ligament damage in both his elbow and shoulder. Colon underwent PRP therapy and stem cell treatment.
- In May, Colon began working out under the guidance of the doctors who performed the surgery.
- Colon joined a Dominican winter ball team
- Colon was signed with the New York Yankees