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David Drysdale aka “Lazarus” – case study (with permission)

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Above: David pictured with Stuart during his rehab

When professional European tour golfer David Drysdale tore his calf while playing a tricky bunker shot in the third round of the Italian Open and had to withdraw from the tournament, the ramifications went far beyond a ruined round. Put simply, this was an injury with the potential to ruin his career.

In danger of not making enough prize money to keep his tour card for the following year, David knew before that fateful round in Turin that he needed a good finish at the Italian Open and a strong showing at the Dunhill. If he made the cut in both tournaments, he would almost certainly be playing on the tour next year. But if he didn’t…

So when David telephoned me just hours after he sustained the injury, I dropped everything to see him the next morning. He came to the clinic straight from his Sunday morning flight, and it was immediately obvious that his left calf muscle was torn, swollen and painful.

David couldn’t walk and the injury was so severe that I could fit my thumb into the hole in his medial head of gastrocnemius. While the injury would heal in time, the priority now was clear – an accelerated recovery to get him ready for the Dunhill, where the big prize money on offer would allow him to secure his card and his livelihood.

I told him to take it day by day. In theory his injury would take 12 weeks to heal, but in reality he would be pretty much fully functioning by the end of week 8. The [problem was that the Dunhill was the next week. However, I thought that with the right intensive treatment we might be able to fast-track that recovery to the point where he would be able to play after 10 days so that he was ready for the Dunhill the following week.

Here’s what we did to achieve this crucial outcome:

  • A ULS scan revealed a 3cm x 3cm lean at 15cm area of swelling in calf.
  • He was placed in a moon boot with heavy strapping and told to walk with crutches so that there was absolutely no weight placed on the damaged calf.
  • Daily treatment regime commenced immediately.
  • Cold water immersion in the sea.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Graduated strapping reducing to Kinesiology Tape.
  • Graduated exercise programme starting with Theraband and graduating to box step-ups.
  • Daily massages.
  • Gym circuits using vibroplate, treadmill, leg presses and step-ups.

David felt better every day and his symptoms improved remarkably quickly. By the following Saturday – just six days after he hobbled into our clinic – he could walk without a limp. Three days later on the first practice day on the Tuesday, he was able to walk all 18 holes wearing a strapping and felt great. The following day, he felt even better and was able to complete a second practice round.

During the four days of the tournament, which started on the Thursday, David would come to my home at 6am each morning to get his calf strapped. It was worth it though because on the Sunday, the final day, David finished ninth and collected winnings of £64,000 – far more than the £20,000 he needed to keep his card.

With his status on the Tour secure and feeling in buoyant mood, a delighted David finished the season playing some of his best golf and won £100,000 in the last four events.

Thanks to David’s high profile within the world of golf, this real-life case study and Lazarus-like recovery was conducted in the glare of worldwide media. Yet what it demonstrated was that with the right attitude, belief, diagnosis and treatment, we can achieve remarkable outcomes.

Since the end of his season, David has experienced no further issues with his calf, although he did promise to get his winnings over the threshold earlier in the season and avoid the end of season pressure. He’s been true to his word so far – and has already made five cuts in his first six events!

Click here to read what the papers had to say about David’s remarkable recovery

 

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