Just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse, just as the “Jungers effect” seemed to be taking hold, the New York Times reported last night that the Canadian doctor who treated Tiger Woods’ knee injury last year is under investigation by the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the sale and smuggling of illegal drugs, including human growth hormone and other known performance enhancers.
The doctor, a sports medicine specialist named Anthony Galea, began treating Woods after his agents began to shit their pants when “traditional” treatments for his knee injury failed to produce results.
Dr. Galea said Mr. Woods was referred to him by the golferâ€™s agents at Cleveland-based International Management Group, who were alarmed at the slow pace of Mr. Woodsâ€™s rehabilitation after knee surgery in June 2008. The doctor said he flew to Orlando, Fla., at least four times to give Mr. Woods the platelet therapy at his home in Windemere, Fla., in February and March of this year. When asked for comment about Mr. Woodsâ€™s involvement with Dr. Galea, Mark Steinberg, of I.M.G., responded in an e-mail message: â€œI would really ask that you guys donâ€™t write this? If Tiger is NOT implicated, and wonâ€™t be, letâ€™s please give the kid a break.â€
Despite the fact that the Times didn’t “give the kid a break,” Tiger isn’t the only elite athlete who uses the doctor’s services:
(Dr. Galea’s) practice has become a regular destination for injured professional athletes, including N.F.L. players who take red-eye flights on Monday nights for treatment on Tuesdays, their day off, because of the platelet-rich plasma methodology that he began using eight years ago. News of his arrest shocked many in the sports world, especially those who refer to him as â€œMiracle Man.â€
â€œWeâ€™re all surprised by this â€” we believe itâ€™s going to go away and itâ€™s a misunderstanding,â€ said David Cynamon, co-owner of the Argonauts. â€œHe might be one of the elite sports medicine doctors anywhere, and thatâ€™s why the likes of Tiger locate him.â€
The use of platelet therapy, which has become more prevalent in sports medicine in recent years, is believed by some doctors to dramatically speed up recovery times. Platelet-rich plasma is created by putting a small amount of the patientâ€™s blood in a centrifuge, which separates the red blood cells from the platelets that release proteins and other particles involved in the bodyâ€™s healing process. No more than a teaspoon of the substance is injected into the damaged area. In some cases, the high concentration of platelets â€” from 3 to 10 times that of normal blood â€” catalyzes the growth of new soft-tissue or bone cells.
Okay, in defense of Tiger and any other athlete who uses drugs or complicated treatments to recover from injuries, what’s the difference between that and a surgeon who has LASIK surgery on his eyes so he can continue to do his job, or a high-powered executive who has to take adderall or prozac to make it through the day before popping a viagra so he can fuck his wife? Just saying. So can we give the guy a break on something like this if he’s merely trying to repair an injury so that he can continue to do pursue his career?
Further, the New York Post is reporting this morning that Tiger is “on the edge,” basically coming apart at the seams as his life unravels in front of the world, and really, who could blame him.