Personal Views

Pitching it low

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 08 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1486
  1. Richard Orme

    I was watching baseball on television one night in Toronto, trying to unravel some of the mysteries of the sinking pitch and the fast ball, when the commentator idly tossed in a piece of information about an absent injured player. It was good news. Apparently “his shoulder MRI was negative.” Another player was less fortunate. We were told that his “arthroscopy had revealed a torn meniscus.” No additional explanation was given. The commentator clearly believed that these were phrases with which the watching public would be familiar.

    I was unaccustomed to such precise descriptions of sporting injuries. I was more used to John saying to Trevor: “He appears to be limping, Trevor. Do you think it's his groin?” “Could be, John, and from here it looks like a nasty one.”

    I gradually got used to the broadcasters' easy familiarity with medical parlance, but I was a little surprised to find that this also extended to the players. I learnt that a pitcher for one of the major league baseball teams was in disagreement with his orthopaedic surgeon over the latter's diagnosis of a rotator cuff tear. This contrasted sadly with the touching faith in their healers shown by most of our own …

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