What A "Pain In The Neck!"



Dr. Rick Sasso is a nationally recognized cervical spine expert.

A lot of talk has buzzed around the NFL regarding concerns about Payton Manning's medical procedures to correct a bulging disc in his neck. Some people, including many of us here at MHR, have serious doubts as to his ability to not only perform well, but to stay healthy.

The explaination below will shed some light on what he has gone through, and Dr. Rasso will explain the procedure and the prognosis for complete recovery.

The symptoms of a cervical bulging disc can include:

Pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the neck at or near the spot in the spinal column where the bulging disc is located

Pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling radiating from the neck to the shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, and fingers
Stiffness and headaches

Dr. Rick Sasso with the Indiana Spine Group has performed more than 1,000 of these procedures. He says that for most patients, the data to date overwhelmingly points to its success.

"The disc herniation is on the front of the nerve, so we go in through the front, take the pressure off the nerve, and then we distract that disc space where it belongs. We also open the tunnel where the nerve runs out and then we keep it in that position with a little bone graft. And you usually put a little plate across that section so people can move their neck right away and get back to doing their normal activities very quickly," he said.

Sasso says it's routine and highly reliable.

"Most of the time we allow our patients to do aerobic strengthening exercises right away," said Dr. Sasso "But before we do a collision activity we want to make sure that the fusion is healed and again that's at the minimum 3 to 4 months."
That timetable takes most of the current NFL season.

Enter Luke Richesson:



One of the great hires to our coaching staff this year was when Jack Del Rio brought his entire Strength & Conditioning team with him from Jacksonville.

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Luke Richesson (37 years old) heads the team which includes, Jason George (43) (Luke's top assistant), Mike Eubanks (31) and Anthony Lomando (29).

They all worked together in Jacksonville for the past three years but their team has been together prior to that as well.

Luke started out working for the University of Kansas (his alma mater) as a Strength & Conditioning Intern in 1997, moved on to University of Wyoming for the 1998 season and then became the Strength and Conditioning coach at Arizona State University for the 1999 - 2000 seasons.

Having been a four year letterman as a safety for the Jayhawks certainly makes it easy for Luke to relate to his clients.
Prior to his hire in Jacksonville, he served as the performance team director at Athletes’ Performance in Tempe, Ariz., from 2001-08, implementing programs to help elite college football prospects prepare for the NFL Combine as well as assisting NFL veterans in their training during the offseason.

In his eight years with Athletes’ Performance, Richesson trained 52 first-round selections, including four No. 1 overall picks, and more than 250 draftees overall.

(Many thanks to the Denver Broncos' official site for much of the above info. Many of you may find it interesting to take a more exaustive read on each of the new Strength & Conditioning team members at the site.)

Having reveiwed the Team that is helping Payton rebab, I'm fealing pretty good about his chance at being 100% by the first preseason game!

Given all that I have read to date regarding Paytons bulging disc malady, (the chances are greater that it WAS NOT caused by an injury as much as his age and family history) I have reason to believe that he will be able to retire from football, when He Wants To, rather than being forced out by injury.

What do you think?

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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