Brian Cushing's injury is a tremendous blow to the National Football League's Houston Texans who are (or at least were) expected to be great this season. While it still boasts star defensive superstars such as Whitney Mercilus, Vince Wilfork, Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt, these men play upfront. Cushing is a linebacker that offers both pass rushing and coverage abilities. He'll be out for six weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament, more commonly known as the MCL.
Dr. Bert Mandelbaum, who recently spoke to The Chronicle, mentioned how damage to knee ligaments (specifically the MCL) has suddenly become a "trend," as in the injuries are increasing. He then discussed what the MCL is and the difficulties resulting from injuries to it.
What we want to focus on is how he mentioned platelet-rich plasma could be a treatment that may help Cushing recover more quickly.
"Recovery and return to sports [for MCL sprains] will typically take from 4 to 6 weeks in most cases. Healing can also be expedited with the use of a regenerative cell based therapy such as platelet rich plasma," Mandelbaum said.
"Over the past several years many athletes have been turning to PRP therapy. "
Over the past several years many athletes have been turning to a less invasive form of medical treatment known as PRP therapy. Former NFL stars Hines Ward, Ray Lewis and Troy Polamalu all underwent PRP therapy during their careers. Ward received the treatment after he sprained his MCL in the 2009 AFC Championship game. He returned to the field a miraculous two weeks later and played in the Super Bowl. And the list of athletes who have used PRP to treat serious injuries goes on from there.
So what is PRP therapy and what makes it so special?
PRP therapy is perfect for individuals, such as Cushing, who have chronic pain due to tendon injuries.
To conduct the procedure, doctors extract blood from the patient and place it in a centrifuge. This device then separates the blood into red and white blood cells and platelet-rich plasma. Doctors then inject the PRP into the damaged area. The length of the procedure is person-dependent but it typically doesn't take as long as normal surgery would.
Cushing is in an interesting situation with his knee, but it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for him to want to speed up his recovery using legal methods such as PRP. After all, many players are paid extra money when they hit certain in-season incentives.
For those who want to avoid invasive surgery, PRP therapy offers an alternative way for you to heal from major injuries.