Tomase: Breaking down the latest controversy to hit Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
by: Rob Bradford on Wed, 04/12/2017 - 9:51am
It was a conversation that might have altered Steven Wright's fate.
The Red Sox pitcher had just gotten demoralizing news, that his attempt to comeback from the shoulder injury that was thrown his way just about a month before had been derailed once again. The outing Wright had attempted in St. Petersburg, Fla. just a few days before hadn't gone well, and now he found himself in Oakland talking to a sympathetic ear in former high school teammate, and A's reliever, Ryan Madson.
Madson had experienced his own career roadblocks, not pitching in the major leagues for more than three seasons due to injuries. But he had ultimately made it back, ultimately appearing in 63 games for the A's in 2016.
He was a good guy to talk to.
"I had known he had done something that was out of the box," Wright said. "I started talking to him about it. I told him we would see what the outcome was, but I might hit him up."
"It" was utilizing the resources of a company called Premier Neuro Therapy, a Jacksonsville, Fla.-based organization that was started by former Penn State football player Evan Lewis in 2015. While the description given to Wright was a bit complex, the results weren't. They seemed to work, both for Madson, along with growing list of down-on-their-luck baseball players.
"Unleash the power of your nervous system." That proclamation, which was splashed across the company's Web site, was it in a nutshell.
Still, Wright didn't jump in right away. It wasn't until early January, while working out with current Braves pitcher Rex Brothers in Nashville that the Red Sox pitcher really started thinking about giving Premier a call.
"Rex brought it up to me and asked me if I had heard about it," Wright recalled. "I said, actually, I had. I knew a little bit. So I told him what I knew from talking to Ryan.
"He asked me if I was willing to do it, and at that point I was like, 'I'll do anything.' I might as well."
So Wright summoned Lewis, who started the company after tearing his hamstring during his senior year while playing football for the Nittany Lions. Lewis, along with two of his colleagues, traveled to Nashville and the process was started.
"I never going into it what the athlete what I'm getting myself into," Lewis said. "The process is a little intense and it takes a lot of hard work and determination and if you don't have those qualities you're not going to be a good candidate. I can definitely say for Steven he was great to work with and he really trusted the process. You combine the trust with the hard work and the desire to get back on the field it makes for the best-case scenario to work with. It demands a lot physically and mentally and he did what he needed to do and the result is what you see. I couldn't be happier for him."
The idea of the therapy, as Lewis explains it, is to, "supply direct stimulation to reeducate the muscles to work properly." He adds, "There's a disconnect with the brain and the muscles, which results in strength loss. We locate that spot where it's not working correctly and turn it back on."
"It uses a direct current that brings out compositions in your body. For me it was my shoulder," Wright said. "So I was using to find out which muscles were firing. What it does is brings it out. Everything that they found was the same thing the team found. What it does is help train your brain to tell that muscle that it's OK to start working again. That's the therapy.
It uses a direct current that brings out compositions in your body. For me it was my shoulder. So I was using to find out which muscles were firing. What it does is brings it out. Everything that they found was the same thing the team found. What it does is help train your brain to tell that muscle that it's OK to start working again. That's the therapy. It's basically like a stim unit.
"It worked for Ryan so I gave it a shot, and it was unbelievable."
For two weeks Wright worked with the group from Premier, with the machine used sending direct currents into the area in question. In the pitcher's case, what was being identified was everything in and around the supraspinatus muscle, which was at the heart of the knuckleballer's physical woes.
"You just learn how to use your body. You learn how to move," he said. "Every time you get better you turn it up more. Once you do it correctly you'll feel a tingly feeling Everything we found out from that was stuff we already knew, but what it did was bringing other stuff to light in terms of keeping the maintenance program."
What it did was jumpstart what had seemed to be a stagnant recovery process for Wright, allowing him to hit spring training in good enough shape that he was ready for his first regular season start. And now, here he is.
"It works," Wright said. "I really think it works."