Famous athletes around the world continue to use PRP to recover faster and stronger from injuries. This trend continues to gain momentum and popularity as athletes push the boundaries of healing to return to their respective sports’ highest level of competition. The latest example of this is former two time Master’s champion Bubba Watson. Watson is well known for his excellent golf career and charismatic personality. He has been a fixture on the PGA Tour for over a decade and continues to excel at the highest level. In the fall of 2021, Watson’s play was hampered by lingering pain and injury to his wrist that left his future in doubt. This has now come to light as Watson revealed why he and his caddie decided to mutually split ways after years of tremendous success together. Watson was struggling with severe wrist pain and did not know how many more years or tournaments he had left in his career. His caddie wanted to work for another 10 plus years to build a stable retirement, but Watson felt he could not commit to that with the uncertainty of his injury at the time. They decided to split up in order for them to both pursue their own interests and remain friends to this day.
Bubba Watson went on to have platelet rich plasma injections into his wrist for pain relief and increased functionality. He later resumed his competitive golf career and was able to compete and make the cut at this year’s first major championship in golf, the Masters. This is quite the accomplishment considering Bubba’s game relies on a ton of creative shot making. Golf fans know that Bubba loves to hit big draws and big cuts all around the golf course, it’s what makes his game so exciting and entertaining. But in order to shape the golf to such extremes, you need solid wrist control and maneuvering. The fact that Budda competed and made the cut at Augusta National, shows PRP was of great benefit in his return.
What is PRP and why are athletes like Bubba Watson choosing it over steroids these days?
PRP stands for platelet rich plasma and is an orthopedic regenerative medicine injection. It is primarily used for joint pains, arthritis, tendonitis, ligament instability and partial ligament/tendon tears. It is also used in dentistry and aesthetic medicine as well. PRP is a high dose platelet concentrate that is taken from the patient’s own blood. The doctor draws some blood, similar to getting lab-work done, and then separates the platelets out from the rest of the blood cells through a high speed centrifuge machine. After the first spin in the centrifuge, most of the white blood cells and red blood cells are discarded in this process. The plasma is kept and goes through another round in the centrifuge to concentrate the platelets, thus giving us the descriptive term “platelet rich plasma.”
The final PRP solution is chock-full of the body’s own natural growth factors. These growth factors have many different functions and work synergistically together to ultimately decrease pain and increase function. Think of PRP like a set of golf clubs, each club has a different function and purpose for the golfer. If the golfer plays a round with just one club they will be severely limited and have poor results. But when the golfer has all the clubs available for each circumstance, they can play their best and achieve a much better result. Some of these growth factors remove inflammatory cells and debris out of the area, some increase blood flow, some stimulate collagen repair, and some recruit local stem cells into the region. Cumulatively, the PRP signals to the body that there is damage in a specific area and jump starts a new healing process.
Athletes are choosing PRP more and more with each passing year for a number of reasons. Mainly, it gets them back on the field of play while minimizing further connective tissue damage. PRP treats the source of the underlying pain / damage, instead of just taking the symptoms away briefly.
Why is PRP better than Cortisone?
Platelet rich plasma is being chosen over cortisone and other corticosteroid injections more frequently now because it has similar short term results in pain reduction but also has long term results in pain relief, where steroids do not. PRP also improves and strengthens the connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, where steroids make the connective tissue weaker and more prone to injury and decay.
High level professional athletes across the globe are choosing PRP treatments more and more. PGA Tour legend Bubba Watson recently had PRP injections into his wrist to treat a painful lingering injury after his future in the game was in doubt. After receiving the treatment, Bubba was able to resume competitive golf at the highest level once more and returned to Augusta National for the 2022 Masters tournament.