Florida Gulf Coast doesn’t have the budget to compete with the best programs in college basketball, but the program’s medical team is using advanced on-campus medical practices to help players return from injury.
Dunk City is using platelet-rich plasma — more commonly known as PRP — which injects a portion of the patient’s own blood into an injury site.
The procedure has been used by NBA legends like Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady and has also been used by other athletes like Tiger Woods, Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Nadal.
Florida Gulf Coast is using PRP to heal injuries to men’s basketball players like senior guard Bernard Thompson getting an injection in his foot for plantar fasciitis in August.
In a story from Seth Soffian of the News-Press, Florida Gulf Coast gives Soffian access into how the procedure works and how the school is using it. The Eagles believe they are the first and only school doing PRP injections on its own campus, which saves them time and money since the procedure is uninsurable.
The school received an estimated $40,000 worth of equipment in February for the Alico Arena training facilities and about 25-30 injections have been done with about a 90 percent success rate, according to Florida Gulf Coast staff.
PRP has not yet been proven conclusive, but Florida Gulf Coast believes that research continues to grow more positive.
The NCAA is okay with the injections as long as a local anesthetic isn’t used to numb an injury.
Thompson is certainly a believer in the procedure. He’s had two injections in his foot since the end of the 2013-14 season to help heal his plantar fasciitis.
“It worked pretty good,” Thompson said to Soffian. “I’ve been pretty healthy for months now. I’m looking forward to the season, getting back into it with no injuries in my foot.”
As long as the NCAA okays it and Florida Gulf Coast maintains that it’s working, then this is a nice option for the school and its athletes to have to help injured players recover.
Although Dunk City can’t get on budget levels of power conference schools, this unique medical practice could be beneficial to the basketball program if it keeps players healthy.