Garrett Thomas Richards who was born on May 27, 1988 is an American professional baseball pitcher. He played for the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB). Previously he played for the Los Angeles Angels.
In 2016, he suffered from Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury. The ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow is most frequently injured or damaged by repeated stress from overhead movement. Since this motion is common in sports that involve throwing, such as baseball, Garrett Richards suffered from that injury. Richards suffered from UCL tear which is the most common UCL injury is and it is usually gradual but may also happen in a single traumatic event. The most common symptom of a UCL injury is the pain on the inner side of the elbow. A UCL tear might sometimes feel like a “pop” after throwing followed by intense pain. In many cases of UCL tear particularly in competitive athletes (like Garret Richards) whose damage worsens over time, surgery may be necessary to restore stability to the elbow and improve function.
Richards chose to treat his UCL tear via a non-surgical route and underwent a platelet rich plasma injection.
How platelet rich plasma injections treat UCL injuries?
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been shown to be effective treatment in partial tears of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the elbow in overhead throwing athletes. PRP makes it possible to treat UCL injuries differently than ever before. PRP can be used in place of surgery to stimulate accelerated healing in the ulnar collateral ligament. PRP carries a number of important growth factors which are crucial to fight inflammation and support tissue healing, which makes it possible for PRP to function differently than other sports injury treatments. It can be injected directly at the site of injury to stimulate accelerated tissue healing.
What Richards said about PRP treatment?
Richards believed that platelet-rich plasma injections would heal his ligament enough to resume his athletic career with minimal restrictions. However Richards isn’t the first player to use that treatment, but he might be the highest-profile hurler to avoid the famed surgery that has saved hundreds of pitching arms.
Richards said that If you can prevent having surgery and being cut on so that’s should be number 1 priority. “I hope guys don’t just jump straight away into Tommy John. I hope they at least explore this option before surgery. Figure out what you’ve got. Get a second opinion; it’s only gotten better since it happened, so I’m a believer.”
Richards further said that his elbow felt 100 percent normal after 10 days of rest and I lifted weight and lived a normal life.