When New York Mets captain and third-baseman David Wright was injured in April 2015, he thought he would recover from a pulled hamstring and return to the field in no time. However, following a series of injuries since 2011 (a stress fracture, continuous lower back discomfort and tightness, and then the April 2015 hamstring pull) and this season’s particular increased intensity, Wright was ultimately diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis in May.
Wright is seeing a physical therapist, undergoing rehab for his stenosis seven days a week, and though he says he will return to play as soon as possible, his diagnosis is still new and it is undetermined when exactly he’ll once again be an active player on the roster.
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, causing compression of the spinal nerve roots in the lower back. This can lead to leg pain, tingling, numbness or weakness that is typically worse with standing, walking or activity.
Spinal stenosis most commonly occurs in people over the age of 60, but can occur in younger people if they are born with a narrow spinal canal. Symptoms of spinal stenosis develop over time, since the joints located around the vertebrae tend to get larger as they degenerate, compressing spinal nerve roots in the lower back.
Because of Wright’s young age—he’s just 32—there’s reason to believe his stenosis is congenital, meaning there’s a possibility he was born with a smaller spinal canal than that of the average person. Wright experienced a stress fracture in 2011, which can also contribute to spinal stenosis.
Wright has chosen physical therapy as his treatment, working towards strengthening and stabilizing the area around the lower back. According to ESPN.com, Wright told the press that his doctors are strongly advising him to be conservative, even when he eventually returns to the field, “because we’re not just talking about playing baseball. We’re talking about walking and standing and being pain-free.” Should he try to play through the pain in the future, it may bring on the need for surgery, which he is trying to avoid.
We all wish David a quick and thorough recovery, and hope to see him back at 3rd base for the Mets soon! Have you been following David Wright’s story? Tell us what you think of his recovery on our Facebook page.