By Erin K. Blakeley, Shoulder1 Staff
Texas Ranger’s pitcher Kenny Rogers will have to watch the end of the season from the dugout. The left-handed pitcher is scheduled to undergo surgery in order to relieve a circulatory problem that has hampered his throwing shoulder.
The condition, called thoracic outlet syndrome, occurs when the blood vessels and nerves behind the collarbone become compressed. The result is a decrease of blood flow to the arm and shoulder, resulting in pain in the shoulder, arm and hands. Thoracic outlet syndrome is usually the result of hyperextension neck injury, such as whiplash, or repetitive stress disorders, such as typing on a keyboard, stocking shelves overhead, or throwing. In Roger’s case, the culprit is the presence of a cervical rib, an extra rib in the neck. People with cervical ribs are ten times more likely than others to develop thoracic outlet syndrome.
The majority of thoracic outlet syndrome sufferers will use physical therapy and exercises to strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles, and reverse their condition. However, since he has significant vascular impairment, Rogers will undergo a surgical decompression procedure on July 30.
Rogers is 5-7 on the season with a 6.19 ERA. The condition has hampered his play since mid-June. The Rangers expect him to make a full recovery for next season. The injury is the first he has suffered in his thirteen-year career in Major League baseball, and marks his first stint on the disabled list.