I think I had Markelle Fultz's injury: How my experience may relate to Philadelphia 76ers rookie

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I think I had Markelle Fultz's injury: How my experience may relate to Philadelphia 76ers rookie

Post by bobheckler on Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:24 pm


I think I had Markelle Fultz's injury: How my experience may relate to Philadelphia 76ers rookie

Updated 2:06 AM; Posted 3:00 AM

Philadelphia 76ers' Markelle Fultz, left, and Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum are seen during an NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

By Jay King

In an NBA that often doesn't make sense, Markelle Fultz's shoulder injury has been one of the more bizarre stories this season. He butchered his free throw form. He decided not to even try outside shots. When he complained soreness caused the changes, the Philadelphia 76ers at least initially disputed part of his story.
Since then, Fultz was ruled out for three games, subsequently ruled out indefinitely and later transported to Kentucky to continue the rehab process. After appearing in four games overall, the No. 1 overall pick in a great rookie class has been hidden under mysterious circumstances. The beginning of this story includes a timeline of the strange situation. 

So what's going on with Fultz? Well, I don't know for sure. But based on the information released publicly, I am close to certain I suffered a similar injury -- and maybe the same one -- during my time as a basketball player at Skidmore College. I can't be entirely sure he's dealing with the same experiences I did, but all of his reported symptoms were like mine. So was the latest diagnosis the 76ers revealed: scapular muscle imbalance. 
In my case, the instability in my shoulder caused shoulder impingement that wrecked my shot, confounded doctors and led me on a search for answers. With the obvious acknowledgments that I'm not a doctor, I have no inside information about Fultz's injury and I realize every case can be different, here's what I went through with my own troublesome shoulder. 

Step 1: The Pain
Anybody who knows me understands I love to shoot. When I'm open, I let it fly. When I'm not, I might fire away anyway. But during my freshman season at Skidmore, I started feeling pain in my right shoulder. To this day, I have no idea when it began. There was no moment that triggered it; one day, I just started having trouble lifting up my right arm to shoot. 

The issue didn't impact my shoulder mobility in other ways. Just when I lifted my right arm up -- which, of course, is the most important motion a shooter makes. To compensate for the pain, I started lowering my release angle. As a freshman trying to earn minutes, I kept playing, but I was shooting damn near from my hip. 

Step 2: The struggles to diagnose it
As a pretty stubborn guy, I hardly ever seek out medical help. But my shoulder was hindering the one thing I valued most in life: my jump shot (many apologies to my parents, my brothers and, at the time, my college girlfriend). So I visited the training staff for an examination. 

By my recollection, the school trainers thought I had a biceps issue. That didn't make full sense to me because I felt the pain in the front of my right shoulder, near where it connects with the upper pec. But I also didn't know anything about the injury, so I trusted them. 

Unfortunately, the irritation didn't go away. If anything, my shoulder grew more and more uncomfortable. It wasn't a sharp, striking pain, but more of a dull soreness. I stopped lifting free weights because too many of the exercises hurt me. Some of my shoulder strength disappeared. When the issue persisted, I asked my mother to set up a visit with a shoulder specialist. 

The problem? He didn't know exactly what was going on either. The doctor gave me a cortisone shot (like Fultz received) and sent me on my way. I was hopeful the shot would help, but it didn't alleviate much of my pain. It wasn't until I met with a physical therapist that someone properly diagnosed my problem. He told me the rehab wouldn't be too bad. 

Step 3: The Rehab
Thankfully, the physical therapist was right. Based on how long the shoulder bothered me, the rehab process was surprisingly easy. 

Mostly, I needed to do resistance band exercises to strengthen my shoulder area. The two I remember the most: external rotations and internal rotations. They were boring, they were simple, and they brought back all the motion in my right arm. It didn't take longer than a month or two for the discomfort to disappear and I haven't experienced any issues with my shoulder since. In men's league, I'm still firing away, just like I used to. The only pain now is that I miss a lot more frequently than I did back then. 

It's possible Fultz is undergoing more strenuous rehab. His trip to Kentucky was the first part of the injury that struck me as dissimilar to my own experience. It's also possible he has a worse injury than I did, or that his injury is not quite as close to mine as I believe. But so much of what has been reported mirrors what I went through a decade ago. That's why I won't be surprised if Fultz returns soon with no limitations and reminds everyone he can really play.



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Re: I think I had Markelle Fultz's injury: How my experience may relate to Philadelphia 76ers rookie

Post by gyso on Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:39 pm

I have what is known as frozen shoulder (my right one).  It is not what Fultz may have, but my therapy includes external rotations.  Early last August, when I got up from my chair to go to bed, I couldn't move my right arm.  It was really weird.  

I could move my forearm, wrist and hand, but not my arm.  It wasn't locked in place, either.  I could grab my right elbow with my left hand and move it up and down, left and right.  There was no pain involved, I just couldn't move my arm on its own.  I went to bed and when I got up the next day, everything seemed normal.

A couple weeks later, it happened again.  It was on a Friday night.  Same symptoms as before.  It got worse the next day and by Sunday, there was pain.  I called my doctor on Monday and she diagnosed it as frozen shoulder and scheduled me for physical therapy.

Now I can lift my right arm straight up and out to the side with no problems, but reaching behind my back is still limited and painful.  I think it is mostly an issue with my rotator cuff.  I'm still going to therapy and I expect it to fully recover.

It sounds like Fultz's injury is different, but he may be doing some of the same exercises as I am.  I use big rubber bands of different colors, small weights and a broom stick to work on the different muscles in my shoulder.  Stretching and strengthening; up, down and out.

He's young and it sounds like he will soon recover.  That being said, it seems weird that with all the medical resources he had, it took so long for them to shut him down and start him on physical therapy.

With all the issues that keep coming up with their new draft picks, Philly's medical staff seems to be in over their heads.  My doctor figured out what was wrong with me right off the bat.  Maybe they should hire her!



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