by Maurice Wingate
In the competitive world of high school basketball recruiting, sometimes it comes down to the haves versus the have not’s. One sports medicine doctor from Long Island, NY has decided to do his part to level the playing field.
Injuries to the tendons, bone and to muscles are the major reasons why professional athletes are unable to play. Top pro-athletes like Carmelo Anthony (basketball), Tiger Woods (Golf) and MLB star Tanaka Masahiro (as well as basketball publishers like yours truly) have all relied on Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) as a way to accelerate recovery time. Dr. Pradeep Albert, MD, DABR is one of the foremost U.S. authorities on the PRP and explained this groundbreaking procedure for NYCHoops.net. “Your blood is not made up of just red blood cells. It’s made up of white blood cells and it’s made up of platelets,” explained Dr. Albert. “Each of these cells have growth factors.” Albert went on to say that scientists have discovered in Europe, before the advent of it in the United States, that when one’s own platelet-rich plasma is injected into the area of injury, it facilitates healing. Albert said PRP has been used for the last ten years in the United States and probably longer in Europe. “PRP is used ideally for tendon injuries. That’s where it’s shown the most promise,” he said. Albert adds that PRP can also be used for joint injuries (ie. Arthritis). As a successful doctor of sports medicine at Medical Arts Radiology in Huntington, New York, Albert is acutely aware of high performance requirements of athletes. “Everything in life is about timing,” he said. “Just like in professional sports, I think that the average high school athlete has a very very strict time frame meaning that they have to impress somebody in a very short amount of time. Unfortunately, even if you’re excellent or incredible, if you have an injury, it will affect the colleges that you can get into.” Dr. Albert says that PRP can reduce the playing downtime caused by a tendon injury or tear. “Basically it’s the difference in having a completely lost season and being available.” As phenomenal a breakthrough as PRP is, it’s not yet covered by insurance and the procedure is expensive. This has created an uneven playing field off the court between those student-athletes that can afford PRP and those who can’t.
As a Queens, NY native and a product of NYC public schools (Brooklyn Tech), Albert says he’s appreciative of what an education has afforded him. “Even though I’m a physician now, I still remember what it was like back in those days when I had to do what I had to do to make it,” Albert exclaimed. “It always seemed like the wealthier kids had an advantage.” Dr. Albert told NYCHoops.net that he wants to do his part to even the playing field while at the same time giving back. “Because I believe in this treatment so much, I’m willing to donate my time and not charge young athletes who are [economically challenged]. That’s something I’m willing to do for the community,” he said. The motivation for helping disadvantaged student-athletes, according to Albert, is the desire to assist them in achieving a higher education. “It would be terrible for them to lose a scholarship or the ability to actually be [college] educated [due to injury],” he said. Understanding the realities that most young athletes will not become professional athletes, Albert said if PRP affords a student-athlete the opportunity for a scholarship and a college education, that would be an accomplishment. “Maybe he will become a doctor one day.” Dr. Albert said he will offer his services based on need as well as on a case-by-case basis. He can be contacted via email at email@example.com for details. Albert says that Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy is a medical procedure and not everyone will qualify.
Reference: NYCHoops; https://nychoops.rivals.com/; L.I. Doctor Offers Sports Injury Option; https://nychoops.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1678866; Maurice Wingate; September 8, 2014.