By Theodore N. Beitchman
Even pro athletes don’t recovery quickly from the kind of injury that Eagles burner DeSean Jackson had before his surgery on Tuesday.
He had what used to be called a sports hernia and now is called a “core muscle injury,” as named by the man who performed that surgery, Dr. William Meyers, the founding father of this procedure.
A sports hernia is a tear to the oblique abdominal muscles. Unlike a traditional hernia, the sports hernia does not create a hole in abdominal wall. As a result, there is no visible bulge under the skin, which makes a diagnosis difficult.
“A person can tear any of the many muscles in the pelvis area,” Meyers says. “Sometimes the tears cause instability of the pubic joint and the pain continues. There is no bulge, and hernia repair does not generally correct the problems.”
Former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was Meyers’ highest-profile local patient. “Rick Burkholder, the Eagles’ trainer, referred Donovan,” Meyers says of the 2005 surgery. “It was an interesting case. Donovan had a really severe injury, and he had been playing in some pain before that, but it was the Dallas game that he really ripped things apart and totally avulsed the muscles from above and below. He had really done a job on it. It was similar to what we see in a lot of bull riders. They tend to just rip muscles off.”
Any sport that includes violent action like bull riding causes core muscle injuries. “Number 2 is soccer and American football, he says. “Rugby and hockey too.”
Meyers’ patients make up a veritable Gut Check Who’s Who:
Danny Briere, Jammal Brown, Sheldon Brown, Brent Celek, Kevin Curtis, Kyle Davies, Ray Emery, Robert Esche, Simon Gagne, Nomar Garciaparra, Tyson Gay, Josh Hamilton, Darren Howard, Grant Hill, Cliff Lee, Mike Lieberthal, Jamie Moyer, Trot Nixon, Magglio Ordonez, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Placido Polanco, Jeremy Shockey, Grady Sizemore, L.J. Smith, Troy Tulowitzki, Jonathan Vilma.
Most players come back slowly from core muscle surgery.
The Eagles great tight end Zach Ertz was the exception.
In 2015 preseason he suffered an abdominal injury, requiring a trip to Dr. Meyers’ surgical unit in the Navy Yard, home to his Vincera Institute.
He came back in time to play in the regular season opener against Atlanta and had a fine season.
But Ertz was 25.
Jackson is 32, and when he suffered his injury in this season’s week 2 he opted to eschew surgery in favor of rest and treatment.
That didn’t work out, and he and the Eagles have been criticized by many in the lame-ass local media for putting off surgery.
The theory is that if Jackson had been cut in early September he would have recovered in time to really help the Birds this season instead of waiting and missing the entire season.
That’s just speculation — uninformed speculation.
Now, the same dopes are saying he could be back in time for the playoffs.
Don’t hold your breath.
The last thing D-Jax and the Eagles should do is rush back for the playoffs if the Eagles make them.
That could jeopardize his recovery for 2020, when he’ll be fully healed.