Steelers team surgeon, trainer credited with hamstring treatment breakthrough a few days after LaMarr Woodley is released

Gregory Shamus

A breakthrough in the diagnosis and treatment of hamstring injuries is being credited to the Steelers orthopedic surgeon Jim Bradley and head athletic trainer John Norwig. It's hard not to draw a connection to former Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley.

Some things just seem too coincidental to be an accident.

Tribune-Review reporter Alan Robinson wrote an interesting feature in Thursday's edition claiming Steelers team surgeon Jim Bradley and head trainer John Norwig are behind a breakthrough allowing teams to more accurately assess the extent of a hamstring injury, and pinpoint the precise amount of recovery time that player will need.

Two stories down on the Tribune-Review's Steelers section is his story announcing the release of outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley.

One has to wonder if that was connected in anyway. Whether it is or not, it's still hysterical.

Writes Robinson:

NFL teams for the first time can forecast precisely when players with often-debilitating hamstring injuries will return, the result of a study headed by Steelers orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jim Bradley and head athletic trainer John Norwig.

Woodley left Oakland Thursday without a contract after meeting with the Raiders. Perhaps the Raiders are aware of this study. Then again, perhaps they're distracted by the failed physical of their $37.5 million left tackle, Rodger Saffold, which effectively ruined their offseason hope to sign a tackle - all of the top tackles have been signed previously.

As for Woodley, a player who seemed to have as many soft tissue injuries as sacks over the last three seasons, it's a wonder why Bradley and Norwig didn't give some credit to Woodley in his study, or how they would have managed to avoid using him as Patient Zero in their research.

Robinson recognized the obvious connection and pointed to Woodley's injuries as a means to establish a connection between the work and the team, but it cites no specific research methods. However, Robinson did quote Norwig in regards to the team's ability to use the methods developed in their research to help assess the future likelihood of hamstring tears in potential free agents.

"If a free agent comes in, we will get MRIs if they've had recurring hamstring strains to make sure they're not scarred," Bradley said. "If you get a guy who's a wide receiver or a defensive back, really explosive, we will scan his legs to make sure he doesn't have pockets of scars sitting on his hamstring because the risk of having a repeat hamstring strain goes up considerably (if he does)."

To whatever extent they can use MRI testing and plasma injections in their own players, it would be an excellent help in establishing when a player could return to the field.

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