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Matt Kemp and Returning to Play after Shoulder Surgery

When Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers dove into the center-field fence in August of 2012 to catch a fly ball, he likely didn’t have time to reflect on the possible repercussions. Unfortunately, the crash resulted in significant soft tissue damage in his shoulder, and the shoulder injury effectively ended his season. In October, Kemp underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum and partially torn rotator cuff.

In his much-anticipated return, Kemp put together an underwhelming performance in spring training. He attributes his incomplete recovery to mental preparedness. Teammates agree that despite Kemp’s impressive physical ability, he seems to lack the same trust and authority in his swing that has carried the Dodgers in recent years. Despite this minor setback, Kemp expects to be fully prepared for the Dodgers opening day.

Dr. Steven Meier, an orthopedic surgeon in Beverly Hills, is a leading expert in advanced arthroscopic shoulder surgery. In addition to his technical expertise, Dr. Meier understands the challenges of rehabilitation and works with each patient throughout the recovery process to achieve the best possible outcomes. If you have suffered a shoulder injury or would like to learn more about arthroscopic surgery, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Meier.

What is Shoulder Arthroscopy?

Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive technique used to evaluate and repair injuries and chronic conditions of the shoulder joint. The procedure involves the use of a small fiber-optic device, called an arthroscope, to visualize the inside of a joint and enable repair with unparalleled precision. By reducing incision size and damage to surrounding tissue, arthroscopic surgery minimizes pain and scarring, shortens recovery time, and can improve overall success rates.

Rehabilitation From Shoulder Surgery: Physical and Mental

Following shoulder arthroscopy, physical therapy rehabilitation is necessary to restore shoulder strength and mobility. With the proper physical therapy program and dedication, many patients can regain full physical function of the shoulder. However, mental preparedness and confidence can be a critical factor often overlooked in the recovery process.

Professional athletes and active individuals are often reluctant to place full demand on their injured and rehabilitated body part, even if they are physically capable of returning. For Kemp, the fear of re-injury or lack of trust in his shoulder seems like it has recently been enough to hold him back from playing at 100 percent. Overcoming this mental barrier may simply take time and practice, as well as encouragement from teammates or those around him.

If you are an athlete who has suffered an injury to a part of the body critical to playing your sport, remember also to consider the psychological aspects of rehabilitation and discuss your progress with your orthopedic surgeon. Doing so can help lead to a quicker and more confident, successful return to athletic activity.

Contact a Beverly Hills Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Steven Meier is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training in sports medicine and minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. As a leading expert in the field of joint preservation and cartilage restoration, Dr. Meier offers a variety of cutting-edge treatments for sports injuries.

Find out more by contacting Dr. Meier at (310) 777-7845. You may also fill out our online contact form and a representative from Meier Orthopedic Sports Medicine will be in touch with you shortly!


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The information available on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace a medical consultation where a physician's judgment may advise you about specific disorders, conditions and or treatment options. We hope the information will be useful for you to become more educated about your health care decisions.