Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Radio Doctors: Felger and Massarotti

Physicians spend a lifetime training to diagnose and treat illness and injury. After obtaining a college degree with cut-throat premeds, physicians spend four years in medical school, and often five to eight additional years in specialty and subspecialty training. Then they have to pass certifying and recertifying exams to demonstrate some standard of competence. It's hard to get it right even when you have the opportunity to examine the patient directly and access medical testing. 

Evidently, it's a waste of time. The Radio Doctors can skip that final decade of training and experience and jump directly into practice. "What do you mean?" 

When Mike Napoli injured his fourth finger on his left hand in May 2014, Tony Massarotti proclaimed something to the effect of "pop it in and play". How did that work out? Napoli had his least productive season in years. Why? 

Although all of our fingers are important, grip strength is largely a function of the outer fingers. Try grasping a bat with just your thumb and inner two fingers...not too successful. Sprains and dislocations of the outer fingers are very limiting for a baseball player. 

Doctor Felger loves to comment about basketball players. When Marcus Smart suffered a severe ankle sprain, "he went down like he was shot", Doctor Mike lambasted the player for a lack of toughness. Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell had a saying about playing the game with your feet. Footwork, balance, and maneuvering speed were Newell's triad that the sport demanded. The injury was a major setback for the developing guard, but to Felger, M.D. he was just another soft NBA player. 

The latest episode of the Radio Doctors has Jimmy Garoppolo sitting out with nothing broken. Surely, it's part of the dreaded Eastern Illinois Syndrome, first highlighted by Tony Romo. 

Once again, Doctor Felger calls out a player for a lack of toughness with his AC joint separation. He insinuated that Tom Brady would be out there playing with the same injury. 

Here's an illustration of what Garoppolo's MRI probably looks like. 

Of course, the Radio Doctors have sustained injuries, too. You don't see them miss shows because of a paper cut, hangnail, a cold, or bruised egos. They're in the A-hole and B-hole chairs every day, dealing not with J.J. Watt but the ultimate tough guy, Carlton from Norwell. 

It's not about anatomy, physiology, or empathy. It's about ratings. And, to their credit, the Radio Doctors have delivered. Maybe they should be in Obstetrical Radio, where it's all about delivering? 

Seriously, we shouldn't confuse entertainment with facts or the individual differences in response and healing to injury and illness. Pro sports are among the greatest reality shows on television. But everyone knows that you can play 'hurt' but you can't perform injured. I'm no Orthopaedic genius but if you want truly uninformed sports medicine commentary, tune in to the Radio Doctors. And to paraphrase the great Mickey Mantle, who told Roger Maris being hounded by reporters during his pursuit of 61, "hit 'em with your wallet." 

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