If Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wants to know what it's like to miss a game due to injury, there are a bunch of guys over on Yawkey Way he can call. So far this season, 15 Red Sox have spent time on the disabled list. From Curt Schilling's lost season to Sean Casey's six-game stint, it adds up to over 520 games missed in all.
While it's true that there isn't an athlete on the Boston sports scene whose absence would have a bigger impact on his team than Brady's will on the Pats, the Sox have had to fill some pretty big holes. David Ortiz missed 45 games, Mike Lowell a total of 37 and Josh Beckett has been on the DL a couple of times. That had to cost the team a couple of wins.
Injuries are part of the price many athletes pay when they subject their bodies to the physical stresses of professional sports, but that's nothing compared with the costs of the everyday Tom, Dick and Harrys who get hurt on the job.
"Most orthopedic surgeons will never examine or treat a professional athlete over the course of their careers," said Dr. Arun Ramappa, Chief of Sports Medicine in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "I see a lot of the same type of injuries that pros suffer, but they happen to bricklayers and businesswomen too."
A little sleuthing uncovered some interesting figures. The Journal of Safety Research put the cost of occupational injuries at a tidy $155 billion -- that was back in 1997, when a billion was a lot of money. And according to a recent study, nearly 2 million workplace injuries required recuperation beyond the day of injury. Despite some recent, highly publicized incidents, most injured workers are anxious to get back on the job.
"I get asked all the time, 'When can I go back to work?,'" said Ramappa. "Every surgery is a negotiation. Patients need time for injuries to heal. They need rehab to regain strength and motion."
Like the Red Sox, Brady will have first-class medical care, the most progressive rehab program possible and the luxury of being well compensated for as long as that rehab takes. What nobody has is a guarantee that everything will be as good as new.
"I have had to tell somebody that even after I repair their injury, it's unlikely they can go back to their old line of work. That's not an easy conversation to have. I'd much rather deliver good news and, fortunately, most of the time I'm able to," Ramappa said.
For the Sox, now is the time to get healthy, as the regular season winds down. For Brady, it's going to be a long, lonely season. But if history is any indicator, Brady has a good chance of being ready to reclaim his spot when the Pats open their season next year.
Gary Gillis is a contributor to MLB.com. The BID Injury Report is a regular column on redsox.com. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is the official hospital of The Boston Red Sox. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.