St. Louis Blues Lose Players But Gain a Future

Summer is in full swing, so most are thinking about swimming in the water rather than skating on it, but the NHL season is actually in the making right now, and the St. Louis Blues are hot with action.

After a season that concluded with two series wins in the Stanley Cup playoffs, coach Hitchcock’s skill managed a roster that had been ripe with injuries throughout the season. Team orthopedic doctors, the sports medicine specialists, and player determination salvaged what could have been a disastrous season. Instead the Blues dispatched the defending-champion Chicago Black Hawks in the first round and the pesky Dallas Stars in the second, to move into the conference finals for the first time since 2001. All in all, the Blues made St. Louis proud.

However, free agent departures of Scottie Upshall, Steve Ott, Kyle Brodziak, Troy Brouwer, and captain David Backes raise significant questions for the 2016-2017 campaign. According to The Hockey News, Backes’ time may have been up, given his contract expectations. Blues fans are sorry to see him go.

Not to worry. The young talent on the Blues is brimming, and every team goes through regenerative growth processes. Not only will Hitchcok remain behind the bench but also he will have young players such as Jaden Schwartz, Dmitrij Jaskin, and Robby Fabri to combine with veterans Alexander Steen and Patrik Berglund to buzz the net on offense.

On the blue line, Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo are moving into leadership roles, and, while the question about Kevin Shattenkirk remaining with the team hangs over our boys in blue, he still has his spot on the power play and the roster.

Perhaps most thrilling are the two prospects, center Ivan Barbashev and defenseman Jake Walman. Certainly, NHL scouts tout both as top-35 prospects from 2016, but Walman comes from the Providence Friars with an NCAA national championship under his belt. He looks to be one of the next super-special, forward-leaning defensemen, like the Philadelphia Flyer’s newest star Shayne Gotisbehere, who came from Union College after winning the NCAA championship in 2014.

In short, the 2016-2017 season promises to be as exciting as the weather is hot in St Louis this summer. Look for the seasoned veterans to mix with unbridled young talent, and if you need orthopedic care to stay healthy and fulfill your promise, contact us here at Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine.

Cardinals Like What They See in Oh, Hazelbaker

The St. Louis Cardinals, with a record of 16-16 as of May 9, aren’t off to the most torrid start they’ve ever seen, but newcomers Seung Hwan Oh and Jeremy Hazelbaker are giving them plenty of reasons to feel optimistic. In the first few weeks of the season, the pair have already made a splash in the St. Louis sports news scene. With starts like theirs, Cardinal fans and players alike are asking, “Who are these guys, and are they for real?”

Meet Mr. Oh

Seung Whan, pronounced sewn-whan, is a native of South Korea. His calm demeanor on the mound earned him the nickname “Stone Buddha.” He signed with the Cards in the offseason after playing the last two seasons in Japan, where he established himself as a force in the bullpen. In 2015, he broke his own Japanese Central League saves record with 41 and made the All-Star team.

Despite such prowess, nobody around Cardinal land knew what to expect of Oh as a rookie in Major League Baseball. Success playing abroad is one thing, but how would he fare in the Major Leagues facing unfamiliar hitters? The early results are in, judge for yourself:

  • 20 strikeouts in 16 and 1/3 innings
  • Team-leading 1.65 ERA
  • No home runs allowed
  • .158 opponent’s batting average

Looks like he has the Cardinals’ brass singing, “Oh say, can you stay?”

Meet Mr. Hazelbaker

At 28, Jeremy Hazelbaker has finally arrived in the Big Show. Drafted by the Red Sox in 2009, he spent the last seven seasons bouncing around the Minors. The Cards selected his contract from AAA Memphis just before the season began, and he’s not wasting any time in confirming that their decision was a good one.

Thus far, the center-fielder has clubbed six home runs, knocked in 14 and is hitting an eyebrow-raising .297, significantly better than his career .264 average in the Minors. On April 11 against the Brewers, Hazelbaker went 4-for-4, including a double and a triple.

“It’s an indescribable feeling,” he replied when asked how he feels after making it to the Majors. “It’s been a long journey, quite a journey. It’s finally paid off.”

Congratulations Seung Hwan Oh and Jeremy Hazelbaker. Here’s to your continued health and success!

At Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine, your health and mobility is our priority. If you are suffering from an orthopedic or sports injury, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Understanding Elbow Arthroscopy

The elbow joint consists of three bones: the humerus bone of the upper arm, and the ulna and radius bones of the forearm. The ulna and the humerus meet at the elbow and form a hinge, allowing the arm to straighten and bend. Life without this ability would be difficult, indeed.

Thanks to elbow arthroscopy, conditions inhibiting the normal use of the elbow can be treated, relieving pain and enabling one to freely use their elbow again.

What is elbow arthroscopy?

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Arthroscopy is a procedure that allows surgeons to inspect, diagnose, and repair problems such as releasing scar tissue to improve range of motion, removing loose cartilage and bone fragments, repair lesions, among others.

Common procedures include:

  • Removing loose fragments in the joint
  • Repairing fractures
  • Treatment of tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Treatment of osteoarthritis (arthritis that causes wear and tear)
  • Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory arthritis)
  • Treatment of elbow stiffness often caused by fractures and other injuries

How is elbow arthroscopy performed?

Under general or regional anesthesia, a fiber-optic camera is inserted through a cut the width of a pencil in the elbow, magnifying and projecting the structures of the elbow on a television screen. This allows the surgeon to diagnose the condition. Several other small cuts allow insertion of additional instruments into the joint for treatment.

Recovery and rehabilitation.

Arthroscopy is usually an outpatient procedure; expect to return home with a bandage over your incisions, your arm possibly placed in a splint to keep it still and instructions to put ice on it and elevate it regularly for the next couple of days. You more than likely will be given instructions for certain exercises to perform to build strength and increase movement and may even need physical therapy to complete the rehabilitation process. While recovery from elbow arthroscopy is often faster than that of open surgery, expect it to take several weeks for your joint to completely recover.

For more information on elbow arthroscopy and how we can help, contact Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine.

Youth Injuries & Sport Care: When It’s All In Your Head

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Youth head injuries are frightening and frustrating, especially when you’re a driven and determined athlete used to pushing through other injuries. Even a mild concussion can cause significant injury to your brain, and this makes it even more important to understand what to expect during the process of recovery.

When your injury is “all in your head”, sometimes it is difficult to take ongoing symptoms seriously. Since giving your brain a chance to heal is so important to your future performance, here are a few important things to keep in mind.

1. Be honest. Let your coach, parents, and doctor know if you’re experiencing symptoms of concussion. While you may be tempted to gloss over lingering headaches or trouble concentrating after an injury, ignoring symptoms may mean you re-injure your brain and have an even longer recovery.

2. Expect recovery to take time. According to a study published February 2016 in The Journal of Pediatrics, recovery from a concussion takes more time for younger players and those who have yet to go through puberty, with the average recovery time between about 33 and 54 days.

3. Expect frustration. You may have trouble with things like balance, sleeping, and concentration. You may have less of an appetite, experience headaches, and have a hard time predicting your emotional response to stress. While your brain heals, its normal to feel frustrated with symptoms.

4. If symptoms come back after you’ve been cleared to return to active sports, speak up! Recovery from concussion is a complex process and some symptoms can linger. Your doctor is the best one to determine a safe level of activity depending on what you’re experiencing.

While youth injuries are frightening and frustrating, the good news about having an injury that’s “all in your head” is that most young people with a concussion do experience complete recovery. Understanding what to expect during the process will help reduce your stress as you work to regain complete health.

Providing treatment for youth injuries and sport care is a big part of what we do. We’re committed to working with you to help manage your symptoms and get you back to active sports as soon as its safe for you to do so. Please contact us and we’ll work with you every step of the way.

Will St. Louis be the “Soccer Capital of America?”

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There are some big developments in St. Louis sports news lately for soccer fans. St. Louis County has announced plans for a state-of-the-art soccer tournament destination at Creve Couer park, and there’s also speculation that the MLS is searching for a stadium site in St. Louis.

First, let’s talk about the soccer complex at Creve Couer park. Plans call for 13 fields covered in artificial turf. County officials say the fields will draw youth tournaments from a multi-state region. The $14 million facility is expected to host its first games in 2017. After that, it’s expected to handle about 20 tournaments a year. In addition to the lighted fields, the facility will also include parking for 1,500 vehicles as well as a clubhouse.

Although it’s expected to generate millions of dollars from visitors to the region, no taxpayer funds are earmarked to build the facility. Funding will come from the St. Louis Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. Although most people are supportive, some critics of the plan say that it will exceed projected costs.

In professional soccer news, Sports Illustrated recently reported that the MLS Commissioner Don Garber wants to expand to 28 teams. When asked about chances for MLS soccer in St. Louis, Garber said that our city has “a little more momentum” now that the Rams have departed.

St. Louis has always been a soccer town. Home to many national-recognized youth teams, as well as the indoor Ambush and the St. Louis F.C., soccer has a great fanbase here. An MLS team would benefit the city a great deal — let’s hope it all works out! Meanwhile, if you have an athlete in your family that is dealing with a soccer-related injury, contact us and we’ll do out best to ensure a speedy recovery.