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Thursday, May 12, 2011

After his rocky rehabilitation: Baseball star Kendrys' Morales surgery decision

Los Angeles Angels first baseman and superstar Kendrys Morales was just way too happy, and you would be too. Leading the team last season with 11 homers as of May 29, he had just hit a game-ending grand slam home run, and basked in the cheers of the crowd as he jogged around the bases. At the end he joyfully took a huge leap, landing on home plate. And wrecking his left ankle, his livelihood for more than a year, and maybe his team's chances for a future pennant.

The fracture healed fully, but degenerative cysts and scar tissue developed. "Kendrys has worked as hard as anybody in coming back from a serious injury, and it hasn't worked," said the team's medical director, Lewis Yocum.

"I wasn't ready to have surgery again, but this is the best path for the team and myself," the slugger said, in explaining the decision to undergo surgery again. He and the team's General Manager, Tony Reagins, announced the decision after the team gave up on his rocky rehabilitation.

The medical director said recovery from the surgery should take at least six months, but could change depending on the nature of the procedure, which has not yet been scheduled.

Morales had a team of advisors that included the medical director and General Manager, among others, who helped him make the treatment decision. He and they took the decision seriously, giving it much thought. First he chose a non-surgical route of rehabilitation, i.e., physical therapy and exercises, and tried his best to make that work. He was aware that the decision affected more than himself alone.

Advice to people who've suffered a severe injury: Like Morales, think carefully beforehand about surgery with a team of advisors, considering the effects on those around you. Work hard at self-care if that’s an option.

Read more about the surgery decision in Chapter 3 of my book, which you can get at Amazon. Thanks to the Associated Press for the source story, as in today's online version of USA Today.

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