Knee Injuries Take Their Toll on Baseball
July 17, 2003
By Jennifer Solar for Knee1
Baseball great Mickey Mantle would be the first to attest that a knee injury could be the cause of great strain in the life of a ball player. Running after a fly ball, Mantle tripped over a drain cover, which resulted in a tendon tear that would not be forgotten for the remainder of his career. Perhaps a sign of a Major League star, Mantle’s knee injury did not prevent his Hall of Fame career from being logged into history. Such is not the case, however, with many players who dream to follow Mantle’s footsteps. Many players suffer anything from knee sprains to intensive surgeries that may damper performance, or worse, lead to a career’s end.
One Major League Baseball player recently plagued by a knee injury is Mo Vaughn of the New York Mets. Having been placed on the disabled list since May 3rd, Vaughn is giving rehabilitative therapy a chance to heal his arthritic knee before choosing surgery. Although arthroscopic surgery would prevent Vaughn from playing the remainder of the season, several doctors have recommended knee replacement surgery, which would bring his ball-playing career to an end.
While some players unfortunately meet their career-ending fate due to knee injuries, others remain in the game and experience the negative effects of their injuries on their playing performance. Another Mets player meeting the challenge of a knee injury is relief pitcher, Mike Stanton. Stanton, who is suffering from a tear in his left meniscus, is missing the opportunity to relieve the mound while recovering from surgery. Kevin Young, recently let go as Pittsburgh Pirates’ veteran first baseman, gradually lost productivity over the past three years due to knee injuries.
Other players recently placed on MLB’s disabled list because of knee injuries are Christopher Snelling of the Seattle Mariners due to tendinitis and Toronto Blue Jays’ Peter Walker of a strained left knee. Enrique Calero of the St. Louis Cardinals will be out for the rest of the season recovering from recent surgery on his ruptured right patella tendon. Los Angeles Dodgers’ Darren Dreifort has been placed on the disabled list because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, while teammate Brian Jordon considers his second knee surgery of the year.
While many knee injuries in ball players result from deterioration over time, others take on the form of an unexpected incidence of play similar to Mickey Mantle. San Francisco Giants’ Marvin Benard, could potentially be out for the rest of the season after slamming into the wall during a catch versus Kansas City. David Ortiz of the Red Sox experienced his right kneecap being pegged by Marlins’ pitcher, Blaine Neal.