When Jayson Werth was struck on the wrist by a pitch during the first spring training game of 2005 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, he began an odyssey to overcome the injury and return to his promising career in major league baseball.
Now Jayson is a member of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, and I had the opportunity to interview him yesterday before their home game against the Washington Nationals. Jayson recalled the pain, frustration and anxiety that brought him to Mayo Clinic in August 2006 to see Richard Berger, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and wrist specialist.
Jayson described meeting Dr. Berger and the subsequent examination, diagnosis and arthroscopically guided surgical procedure that helped him begin the rehabilitation journey and led to him signing a major league contract with the Phillies in December 2006.
The type of injury Jayson Werth experienced, which is called a “split tear” of the ulnotriquetal (UT) ligament, is one that Dr. Berger first identified, and for which he has pioneered the successful treatment (see the animation). In this podcast audio interview, Dr. Berger explains the injury in greater detail and describes the people typically affected, as well as why it is typically missed when a physician looks at an MRI of the injured wrist. Because it involves a lengthwise split of the ligament instead of a complete rupture, it is often undiagnosed. And as this Mayo Clinic Medical Edge story indicates, the UT split tear affects not just elite athletes like Jayson, but people from various occupations as well as recreational athletes.
After a strong 2007 season with the Phillies, Jayson became a regular on the 2008 team that defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. Jayson hit 24 home runs during the season, and also homered in the fourth game of the Fall Classic. He reflected yesterday on his comeback from injury and why he wants to share his story:
Lee Aase is manager for syndication and social media at Mayo Clinic.