Internet Report: Has Setback Cost Tom Brady His Career? is reporting that on Thursday, December 11th an Internet report surfaced quoting an unnamed orthopedic surgeon allegedly familiar with sidelined New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s surgery, saying “(His career) is dead – It’s over, plain and simple.”

Brady was injured tearing both his ACL and MCL in the Pats season opening game versus Kansas City on September 7th and had to have 3 separate post-op procedures to quell a staph infection. sources say that the Internet report is “ridiculous” and that Brady’s rehab is on-track for him to return for the 2009 NFL season.

Staph infections however are something to be taken very seriously and have been recently seen in more than one pro athlete’s surgery. Physiotherapist Marc Rizzardo of Metrotown Physiotherapy and SportMedBC Board member has worked with elite athletes for 20 years. We asked Marc for his comments on Brady’s multiple surgeries and how staph infections can delay proper rehab.

Tom Brady is an interesting case. First of all, he chose to go outside of the Patriot’s medical staff to get the knee operated on. My understanding is that the club was not happy with him going to Los Angeles instead of staying in Boston.

The surgeon that he chose, Dr. Neal Elattrache, is very well know in the medical world and works at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic. Apparently he has sustained a staph infection and they had to go in three times to “washout” the joint. Typically these infections are treated with I.V. and/or oral antibiotics, and a washout. What they want to be careful of is that the infection does not affect the patellar tendon graft. If the infection does attack the graft then the surgery may have to be re-done. Many of the orthopedic surgeons in Canada use the Semitendonosis Tendon as the graft, rather than the patellar tendon, that is the graft of the choice in the US. There are pros and cons to each type of graft.

The other thing about Tom Brady is that not only did he have the ACL repaired but apparently the MCL was operated on as an aside because the knee did not appear stable – and that is incision that got infected.

Recovery is delayed by the infection as until the infection is under control rehab really cannot proceed as expected or planned. Sometimes this delay can be up to 6 to 8 weeks. Brady still has a lot of time to get ready as long as the infection is under control.

The infection rate for knee surgery is less than 1%, however of interest is the fact the three high profile NFL players have contracted infections this season from surgery. From published reports Payton Manning, Kellen Winslow and Tom Brady have all had to deal with post-operative infections.

One also has to remember that in the past year or two other high profile quarterbacks have had successful ACL surgery and rehab – namely Carson Palmer, Donovan McNab and Trent Green.

For more on the Tom Brady story check out

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