Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A History of Injury

Some of us are a bit concerned about the decision by the Steelers to choose an offensive lineman, namely Tony Hills, who suffered a fracture of the left leg in November 2007 and hasn't played since.

And our concern isn't exactly allayed by a story from the October 4, 2006 Houston Chronicle that tells the story of a devastating injury that Mr. Hills suffered to the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee in high school. The article tells us that Mr. Hills made his recruiting visit to the University of Texas in a wheelchair, and quotes his mother as saying that his "doctors told him to hang up his cleats . . . [t]hey told him he would do well to gain some functionality [of his leg]."

The family sought out expert medical help and
"[t]he search led to Dr. Bruce Moseley, an orthopedic surgeon who has treated the Rockets and Comets. The first surgery to repair the knee ligament was routine, according to Moseley, but after several months the nerve showed no improvement.

During that time, Hills had to overcome a condition known as drop foot, which is a paralysis of the foot. Hills' left foot hung down with his toes pointed to the ground, and he couldn't bend the foot at the ankle.

Nine months after suffering the injury, Moseley, with the assistance of Houston nerve specialist Dr. Rahul Nath, performed a second surgery to remove scar tissue. The doctors originally planned to take a nerve from another part of Hills' body and graft it to the damaged nerve to see if it would work again as 'a last-ditch effort,' Moseley said.

During the second procedure, Nath removed an area of scar tissue about 6 inches below the original knee injury.

Hills' foot moved for the first time in nine months.

'We went from telling him before the surgery, "We hope this works, but we're not overly optimistic," to telling his mother he had a chance for a full recovery,' Moseley said. 'It was really miraculous.' "
Certainly the story is a testament to the perseverance of Tony Hills, and he's to be admired for that. However, isn't there/shouldn't there be just a little bit of concern amongst the Steelers' brain trust?