Someone Should Make a Database of Players Who Insist On Playing Through Injury

92topps_mattkempToday’s entry: Matt Kemp.

Kemp had significant surgery to repair a labrum injury, sustained when he smashed into the center-field wall at Coors Field on Aug. 27. He said doctors told him the soreness he feels is normal for the repair work done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Oct. 5. Kemp said he can tell that the sharp pain he felt while insisting on playing through September is gone.

“I can definitely tell my labrum is stronger, my shoulder is stronger from the rehab I’m doing,” Kemp said. “I’m sure when I come to Spring Training there will be some limits put on me for some things. I’m not trying to be 100 percent for the first game of Spring Training. I’m trying to be 100 percent for the first game of the season.”

Kemp said he was told to have surgery shortly after suffering the injury, but insisted on playing as long as the Dodgers were in contention for a postseason berth. Kemp was batting .337 at the time of the injury. After the crash, he hit .214 with six home runs, 15 RBIs and 33 strikeouts in 112 at-bats. The Dodgers were two games out of first place when Kemp was hurt and finished nine games back.

“I couldn’t shut it down,” Kemp said. “They told me to shut it down and think about surgery — or at least rest. But I just couldn’t do it. I had to continue and play. That’s what I do. I can’t sit and watch.”

“Sharp pain.” Love that. Love it, especially the part where Kemp was told he needed surgery but insisted on playing anyway, because why should a person in a position of authority — say, a doctor, or a manager — have any say? If this sounds familiar, that’s because this was us in September

So, what, if anything, have we learned? That no matter how many times it’s been drilled into everyone’s head over the decades that “heroes play through pain,” it’s nearly a universal truth that hiding an injury or attempting to gut your way through it usually ends up hurting everyone in the end. For pitchers, that can mean a minor arm injury becomes a serious one (hi, Eric Gagne!). In Kemp’s case, even if this doesn’t have deleterious effects on his long-term health, the short-term impact is that he’s been a main contributor to the offensive struggles of the club.

Not only did Kemp’s injury-limited awful play hurt the Dodgers in September, now we have to worry about what effect it will have on 2013.

For the last time: playing through serious injury doesn’t make you tough. It makes you foolish, because it hurts the team both in the present and the future. It’d be wonderful if athletes could come to recognize that.

184 comments
jWerthfan
jWerthfan

I don't think these guys think 'toughness' when playing hurt. I believe they mistakenly believe it to be 'leadership".

ThtsaPaddlin
ThtsaPaddlin

My wife on Matt Kemp's tattoo: "Can't he just carry a picture in his wallet?"

*VND*
*VND*

Google translate sucks my butt

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

Before Gangster Squad I saw the trailer for 42. I geeked the fuck out.

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

Jay Jaffe ‏@jay_jaffe

Musial hit .331/.417/.559 over the course of 12,717 plate appearances. Basically 1.5 x Albert Pujols' career without dropoff

Weston Taylor
Weston Taylor

Remember when everyone was saying that Kemps shoulder had no effect on his awful play? Me neither.

efb
efb

so excited about fan fest! imma get Kemp AJ and Jansen autographs!

jWerthfan
jWerthfan

I also wonder if Kemp makes the same decision to play if the options to replace him weren't named Gwynn and Rivera [sliding VictoStinko over to cf]

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

@Scruffy the night is dark and full of terrors

*VND*
*VND*

Well the i would delete that figuring as i didnt write it but the hilarity of it warrants a good stay

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

 @jay_jaffe Pal Jeff just told me this, which I vaguely remember reading awhile ago:

The most amazing stat about Musial, he had exactly the same number of hits on the road as at home. That's incredible.

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

 @Bob Meripol If I were in the front office that boy would already be drug tested and if clean traded by tomorrow afternoon.

DINGERS!
DINGERS!

@the_fake_paul The Fake Twitter page of the Beefalo. Fattyswag5 SWAG SWAG SWAG

JustinDrummond
JustinDrummond

 @efb I am cautiously optimistic that this time around might actually be organized.  I went to the FanFest last spring and it was a clusterfudge.

Kewldood69
Kewldood69

 @LA_Woman I love when Vin talks about guys back in the day who would hit more home runs than have strikeouts.

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

@capnsparrow his dad was a big leaguer. Shouldn't Justin know better.

Cochito Commish
Cochito Commish

 @LA_Woman Not sick, I was just having absolutely terrible insomnia for about a week and a half but I have been sleeping like crazy for the past couple days. Feels good. 

Batted Bob
Batted Bob

@capnsparrow a month if complaints.