Flyers' Pronger expected to recover from herniated disc surgery

May 24 2011
Earlier this month, a Pennsylvania ice hockey player underwent spine surgery, highlighting the challenges athletes all over the world face when it comes to the health and well-being of their bones and joints. 

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger found himself on the operating table at Pennsylvania Hospital earlier this month after a protruding disc fragment started causing him significant discomfort, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

This type of condition can lead to high levels of pain due to the protrusion pressing on the nerves that come out of the spine. If left untreated, it can cause chronic pain, loss of sensation in the arms or legs, and severely impair a person's mobility and quality of life.

Pronger's physician told the news source that the athlete, who was set to begin rehabilitation a few days after the surgery, had a 98 percent chance of making a full recovery.

The Inquirer also reported that Pronger was not the first Flyer to have submitted to this type of surgery. In fact, goalie Michael Leighton had a similar procedure in 2010, as did Mark Howe and Rick Tocchet when they were with the team.

Sports medicine experts stress that athletes, whether professional or amateur, are at a greater risk of orthopedic injuries due to the intense and strenuous training sessions they have to undergo.

While some sports-related injuries cannot be predicted or avoided, it is important to begin each training session with proper back stretches and warm-up exercises to prepare the muscles, bones and joints for workout. Similarly, each training should end with proper cool-down exercises.

Athletes who experience soreness in their back, or any part of the body, are advised to rest, apply hot or cold compresses and take anti-inflammatory medications first before considering expensive surgery, which can sometimes have undesirable side effects.