I’ve noticed a change that’s occurred in sports culture in recent years. Previous to this change, the word “miracle” in sports generally preceded words like “catch.” Moments of great achievement in the field of play were miracles. It was like the human body’s moment of artistic achievement. To be dramatic.
It was not related to injuries. As I recall those days, when athletes got hurt, they got surgery or treatment, or whatever they needed, then came back when they were healthy enough to play again. You were there, then you weren’t, then you were.
Have you noticed how that’s not really the case anymore? Injuries aren’t just injuries now; they are platforms for miracles. So. Many. Miracles. Today I got word that Metta World Peace (greatest sports name ever?) is subject to a miracle, as he is returning from his knee injury 5 weeks earlier than expected. Kobe Bryant apparently calls him Logan, cause, you know Wolverine, and healing powers? Good for him, I guess.
This follows last weeks declaration from Dr. James Andrews, who surgery-ed up Robert Griffin III after his knee injury, that RGIII is “one of those superhumans.” Apparently RG’s recovery is at record speed and will bring him back ready before we can even imagine. This has not even happened yet and it’s a miracle.
This is the same doctor who led Adrian Peterson back, miraculously, from injury to MVP in one year. Quite amazing that the same doctor is overseeing two separate miracle-surgery/recoveries on two separate players. Are those miracles, or is he just a good doctor? Or is something else going on? If you read sports news with even moderate interest, you know just how common miraculous recoveries by American athletes are these days. God forbid a human athlete has a human recovery instead of a miracle recovery…
This is not to put down individual atheletes or degrade the seriousness of their injuries. But really, do we think these injuries and their medically-inspired miracle doctors are doing the unbelievable? As far as I’m concerned, no professional athlete should be taken at their word regarding the contents of his or her blood. They’ve lost that trust. It’ll take work to earn that back, and the hyperbole of the sports miracle infecting the actual world of medicine doesn’t really help. It’s making me quite skeptical of the injuries, the surgeries, the recoveries, and just how these millionaires are capable of getting off the table and back in the game with such speed. In sports, I take the advice of that X-Files Episode:
Anyway, I’m no doctor and I don’t know how the practice of sports-medicine became the practice of miracle-working. But I have three guesses, and they are not mutually exclusive:
1) Athletes really are superhuman,
2) Medical science is progressing at extremely fast rates, especially for the wealthy, unbeknownst to those of us not able to afford expensive surgeries,
3) Everyone in sports is on outrageous amounts of drugs.