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Location: Lancaster County, PA

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Friday, April 14, 2006

The big toe of Delaware baseball

Few sports injuries have the power to terrify me like turf toe does. Damage a ligament in the elbow, have Tommy John surgery. Blow out a knee, have surgery and return a year later. Turf toe is debilitating and painful and largely treatment free.

Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert, the most fearsome football player I can recall, anchor of the Steel Curtain defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers glory years, was forced to retire because of turf toe. As a youth from western Pennsylvania, I lived and breathed the Steelers and when Lambert succumbed to turf toe, I was aghast. Here was someone who inflicted and felt pain on a regular basis who was now being forced to quit the game he loved and excelled at because of a toe.

Almost a quarter century later, my geographical loyalties have shifted east but I am once again worried about a hometown athlete coping with turf toe. Kevin Mench is the victim of this malady and I am hopeful that the magnitude of his injury is no where near that of Lambert's.


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