Tiger Woods walking tall and stronger than in 3 years… I am Tiger Woods

Have you watched any of the US Open over the last 2 days?  Did you see the back 9 that Tiger played 2 weeks ago @ the Memorial?  A lot has been written about Tiger is back and the articles and interviews will explode if he closes the deal this weekend.  How his head is back in the game, his iron play is the best, his putting… and on and on, BUT have you seen Tiger walk this week?  Yes, walk, kneel, climb out of the occasional bunker he is in, and last night make a shot while kneeling and putting his surgically repaired knee is some crazy angle that made my knee feel sore.  These are the strange but fascinating things to me that I look for during an athletic event.  He has finally recovered from knee (possibly experimental) surgery see this link for explanation of the double strand ACL repair.  http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a81SQZgFacBU

If you watch on ESPN classic the extra round he played @ the 2008 US open he is dragging himself around the course the leg is not doing what he wants because the ACL is gone and the stability of the knee has left with it.  After surgery well we know that he had some issues but I think the personal stuff received too much credit for his decline in the rankings.  He was still slogging along in 2010 and even 2011 missing cuts dropping out early because he is afraid he might irritate his knee or Achilles.

So what am I saying?  It takes time to heal you can’t trick the human body into healing faster than it’s going to.  You can put it in the best environment for recovery; good food, rest, physical therapy, massage, eastern medicine, the list goes on and on, and Tiger had the money to get all of these and reports lead us to believe he did, but you can’t buy time.  I have many patients in similar scenarios most not in their 30’s and few are professional athletes but they have had knee surgery and they do expect to go back to active lifestyles.  Many NFL players that experience major knee injuries and then require surgery struggle their fist year back and then have a breakout year the next ( Willis McGahee) In a separate study reported in The American Journal of Sports Medicine in March 2011, Adern et al reported on RTP 12 months after ACL reconstruction in Australian athletes. These athletes in competitive level Australian football, basketball, netball, or soccer had a return rate to competitive sport of 33% at twelve months. However, 47% indicated in this short term study that they planned on returning.  Ardern et al concluded that people may require a longer rehabilitation period to return to competitive sports than previously believed.

There was a popular Nike comercial about 10 years ago.  I am Tiger Woods it promoted Tiger and the fact that a new minority and youth movement was happening in golf  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAnlcW_ILyw

Well there are many South Floridans in their 60s,70s, 80s, and even 90s that have had knee, hip, back surgery that expected to be back on the golf course in 6 months or less.  Remember Tiger is still relatively young has unlimited resources and took 3 years to recover from surgery.  But he did recover and is golfing better than anyone else right now on a surgically repaired knee.

So for all you seniors with titanium knees and spinal fusions don’t give up on getting out there just set realistic time frames and goals and go for it! Walk tall and strong You are Tiger Woods!

About Clif Rizer

Clif began his career at Lock Haven University specializing in sports medicine and Athletic Training. In 1993 he became certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He received his master's degree in Physical Therapy in 2001 from the University of Miami, School of Medicine, and began working as an orthopedic Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer with 5 high schools in Pennsylvania. In 2005 he returned to South Florida. In 2011, he received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy with his thesis focusing on headache and posture treatment from the University of Saint Augustine. His areas of specialization include the spine, shoulder rehabilitation, sports rehabilitation, and geriatric rehabilitation. In Clif's off hours he enjoys triathlon training, weight lifting, and spending time with his wife.
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