Entries in Peyton Manning (3)


Peyton Manning Out for Good? Too Soon to Tell, Doctors Say

Andy Lyons/Gett​y Images(NEW YORK) -- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is struggling with a slow recovery after his neck surgery in September and is facing questions about whether he will end his football career. But doctors say a slow recovery is part of the playbook for the type of surgery Manning had.

In September, the four-time MVP had a “single level anterior fusion” procedure, his third operation in 19 months. In the surgery, doctors removed a herniated disc from the spine to alleviate pressure that comes when the disc pushes on spinal nerves. The bulging disc can be painful and can cause weakness in the arms and shoulders.

Once the problem disc has been removed, the bones of the spine should fuse and the nerves should recover. But the process is slow.

In December, ESPN reported that the bones of Manning’s spine had successfully fused. But athletes usually face three to six months of rehabilitation to recover nerve and muscle function, or even longer if they’ve had more extensive nerve damage.

“It’s a waiting game. Nerves grow at about an inch a month, and you have to wait until the muscle is re-innervated and regains its strength,” said Dr. Gerard Varlotta, an associate professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center. “It’s like watching grass grow.”

Varlotta, who treats professional athletes with injuries similar to Manning’s, said while the nerves are regrowing, the muscle they’re trying to reach may become atrophied, making a quarterback like Manning struggle to throw strong passes or grip the ball.

“If there is identified nerve damage, there may be slower progression of return of strength and motor function,” Varlotta said. “For a professional athlete who’s 35 years old, this is a very concerning injury.”

Dr. Mark Knaub, an orthopedic spinal surgeon at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, said it’s not uncommon for a full recovery to take up to a year, especially for professional athletes who require optimal strength.

“It’s impossible to know going into it how long it will take. The reality is some people don’t recover it all,” Knaub said. “People may want to hear some definitive decision about whether or not he’ll be able to play, but it may just be too early to tell.”

Eyes in the sports world will be on Manning’s recovery and future with the Colts this weekend as his brother Eli, quarterback for the New York Giants, visits the Colts’ home stadium to take on the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Peyton Manning’s Stem-Cell Hail Mary

Peyton Manning stands on the sidelines during a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers, August 26, 2011. Joe Robbins/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) -- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has become the newest face of stem-cell therapy in a treatment decision that has elicited mixed opinions from top doctors in the field.

Buzz about Manning’s decision to fly to Europe to take advantage of an FDA-unapproved stem-cell treatment for his neck exploded this weekend with a report on Fox’s NFL pregame show.

The bulging disk in Manning’s neck has thus far defied three surgical repair attempts and months of physical therapy, and the 35-year-old QB is expected to be out of the game for two to three months, and possibly more.

Manning has already missed his team’s first two games.

He has not kept his disappointment at his slow recovery a secret.

“To say I am disappointed in not being able to play is an understatement,” Manning said in a statement released by his team earlier this month. “I simply am not healthy enough to play, and I am doing everything I can to get my health back.”

According to a report in the New York Daily News, the stem-cell treatment did not work, resulting in the team subsequently deeming the surgery “uneventful.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Peyton Manning’s Surgery, the Go-To Procedure for Herniated Discs

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Indianapolis Colts quarterback and four-time MVP Peyton Manning is out of the game after having neck surgery Thursday—his third surgical procedure in the past 19 months. In a statement released Thursday, the team said Manning had a “single level anterior fusion” procedure, which was “uneventful.”

The procedure is a common one, said Dr. Andrew Hecht, chief of spine surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, who works with players from the New York Jets and the New York Islanders.

“I see these procedures not only in professional athletes, but in many different types of individuals,” Hecht said.

Hecht said such surgery is the go-to procedure for patients with a herniated disk for whom other less invasive methods, such as medication and physical therapy, have not worked. A herniated disk puts painful pressure on the nerves of the spinal cord and can cause numbness or weakness in the arms. Manning, 35, had surgery in May to repair a bulging disk in his neck and recently reported pain in his upper back and neck.

“The goal of the surgery is to decompress the nerves, to relieve that painful pressure,” Hecht said.

In an anterior cervical fusion, doctors make an incision into the neck, remove the disk between two vertebrae in the spine and put a piece of bone and a metal plate in its place.

Dr. Mark Knaub, a spinal surgeon at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, said recovery can take two to four months for someone with an average, non-strenuous job. But for an athlete playing a contact sport such as football, that recovery time can be much longer—up to nine months, in some cases. Knaub said that’s because doctors must make sure that the athlete’s bones have fused.

“Sometimes recovery is accelerated in professional athletes,” Knaub said. “But I’d be surprised if Manning made it back to the field this season.”

The Colts said they’re not estimating a date for Manning’s return to the game.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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