The Big Hurt sends love to his doc­tors

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

When slug­ger Frank Thomas stepped to the lectern dur­ing his in­duc­tion into the Na­tional Base­ball Hall of Fame, he had a lot of peo­ple to thank—138 to be ex­act. But along with the ex­pected tar­gets of grat­i­tude (fam­ily, team­mates, coaches), the Chicago White Sox star known as the Big Hurt sent some love to the ones who kept him on his of­ten-in­jured feet.

“I want to have a spe­cial thanks to all my doc­tors. I couldn’t in­clude all of you to­day, but a few of you, I’d like to say, thanks again.”

He named sports medicine spe­cial­ist Dr. James Boscardin, White Sox team physi­cian Dr. Scott Price, White Sox team po­di­a­trist Dr. Lowell Weil Sr. and Oak­land Ath­let­ics team physi­cian Dr. Elliott Schwartz. Thomas also gave a shoutout to an or­tho­pe­dic sur­geon he cred­ited with help­ing him hit the last 69 of his ca­reer 521 home runs by fix­ing a bro­ken bone in his foot.

“I have to say one spe­cial thank you to Dr. Richard Ferkel,” Thomas said. “You re­paired my nav­ic­u­lar frac­ture when every­one said I was done. I was sit­ting at 452 home runs and you looked at me and said, ‘I’m go­ing to get you back on the field.’ You never doubted putting me back there and you helped me fin­ish my ca­reer. And get­ting to Coop­er­stown, I never thought it would hap­pen.”

In a news re­lease, Weil’s son, Dr. Lowell Weil Jr., ran down a list of Thomas’ foot prob­lems, in­clud­ing a bone spur “half the size of a golf ball in the front of his an­kle,” a tarsal coali­tion (also known as “flat foot”), hal­lux rigidus (aka “stiff big toe”), a metatarsal stress frac­ture, nav­ic­u­lar frac­ture, pos­te­rior tib­ial ten­donitis and in­grown toe­nails.

On top of his 521 ca­reer home runs, Thomas also drew 1,667 walks, the 10th most in Ma­jor League Base­ball his­tory. Con­sid­er­ing how his feet must have ached, that’s a feat that shouldn’t be over­looked.

Thomas gave an emo­tional speech dur­ing his Hall of Fame in­duc­tion.

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