Rafael Furcal – PRP Therapy

Rafael Furcal is a shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB). He recently underwent platelet rich plasma therapy for a strained oblique muscle. Furcal injured the muscle while attempting a throw to third base during game action. Injuries have been a problem for Furcal. In 2008, he missed 126 games. In 2010, he was forced to sit out of 65 games. In 2011, Furcal has only been able to play in 17 games out of his team’s first 62, again due to injury. The most recent injury to his hamstring, threatened to force him out an additional month, that is until he underwent PRP therapy, which appeared to have shortened his time away of the game.

Rafael Furcal and PRP Treatment

Furcal injured his hamstring in the beginning of June (2011). Two days after his injury, he underwent PRP therapy. Concentrated platelets were injected into his hamstring. Dodger’s manager Joe Torre said Furcal was not available to pinch hit on Thursday night, but could be available off the bench on Friday. “I think we’ll have to wait and see how it goes the next couple days,” said Torre. On June 21st, it was announced that Furcal may soon begin his rehab assignment on Monday, June 27th. Baseball players who are injured are often transferred to lower level clubs where they are instructed to play when they have completed rehab and are well enough to compete without risk of further injury.

Furcal opted to undergo PRP therapy for his hamstring because it is a therapy that has proven to be very effective for a notable number of athletes. Alex Rodriguez, Tiger Woods, LaRon Landry and Super Bowl champion, Hines Wards, are just a few. There seems to be push to increasingly use the body’s own healing processes to treat injuries. Stem cell research has received a lot more interest and so has PRP therapy for the treatment of soft tissue and bone injuries (and conditions). While it has not proven to be 100% effective, it has helped many individuals, including an impressive number of professional and recreational athletes.

PRP therapy utilized the platelets in a person’s own blood. They are extracted from the blood drawn by the doctor performing the procedure. A test tube or vial of the blood is placed in a centrifuge where it is spun and the blood components separated. Once they have been separated, the platelets are extracted and injected into the patient, directly into the injury. The body’s platelets contain protein molecules called growth factors.

Growth factors are used by the body to promote and accelerate the healing and regeneration of tissue. PRP therapy is increasingly being used instead of traditional therapies and invasive procedures such as surgeries. PRP is generally considered less risky. There are also fewer known side effects. Because it is using the body’s own platelets, there is no risk of rejection or worry about foreign substances entering the body and causing problems.

Injury and PRP Therapy Timetable

  • Rafael Furcal injures his oblique muscle on April June 4.
  • Furcal undergoes PRP therapy on June 7th and is expected to be sidelined for 25-31 days.
  • Rafael Furcal slated to begin his rehab assignment June 27th