Riders Guard Brendan LaBatte was a full participant in practice for the first time this season. He’s finally conquered an injury he’s been working around for some time.
“I think it actually happened in 2017 when I ended up missing the playoffs,” says LaBatte. “And then it just wasn’t feeling good and it just got to the point where I was so dominant off of one leg and I just couldn’t put anything onto my other one.”
It was a drill early in this year’s training camp that made LaBatte realize that not feeling good wasn’t just him getting older.
“I went to push off my left leg and I didn’t feel like it really took the load or exploded off of the leg at all. It just kind of felt like a bit of a dead leg and I know in my past I’ve been carrying more weight on my inside leg.”
The injury was such a bother, LaBatte wondered if it was going to end his career.
“Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s where I thought all roads were leading to, to be honest. Coach Sorrells was a big advocate for me. Coach Clint Spencer…they kind of went to bat for me.”
The coaches led LaBatte to Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia–a specialist in core muscle injuries. Dr. Meyers diagnosed LaBatte with a sports hernia. And it was serious.
“I was kind of oblivious to it. I didn’t really know it was there. And once we got the MRI and saw what was going on we knew I probably had to do a surgical fix on it.”
Having never been “cut open”, in his words, LaBatte had some hesitation.
“One of the things that Dr. Meyers would ask was what I had plans to do, post-career.
“I asked him ‘If I lose 60-70 pounds, is that going to help?’ He said ‘You’re not losing 60-70 pounds on that. You won’t be able to train consistently enough.’ So that was the realization that the following day I had to let him cut me open.”
LaBatte did not enjoy the recovery process.
“It was pretty terrible. Three weeks after the surgery I tore my adductor again. That was just diagnosed three weeks ago. Went down there, seen the torn muscle again.”
LaBatte says Dr. Meyers was able to drain fluid that was sitting near the tear, and he’s improved dramatically.
“It feels good to be able to bend over and put my feet into my pants and not have it sore in my groin.”
“It feels good now,” LaBatte says. “I think I’ve been compensating for so long that I didn’t know what my ‘normal’ is.”
Is ‘normal’ good enough to play on Saturday?
“I would think I’m for sure. I wouldn’t have come out and want to take any reps away from anybody unless I knew that there was a pretty good chance that I’d be good to go.”