Friday, January 5, 2007

Tennis player overcomes herniated disks -- with a nine-year layoff and a comeback to tennis

At 23, one year out of college, Marc Howard, a former Yale tennis captain was told he would never play tennis again. Two herniated disks in his lower back would prevent any running.

For nine years, he carefully obeyed the doctors’ dictum: no tennis. After he nearly lost a finger in a circular saw accident, he used the idea of playing tennis as a motivation to make it through painful months of healing and physical therapy. He had to play again, he says; it became a mantra.

One year later, he could hold a racquet. At first he played for 10 minutes, then 20, then 30. While his back was stiff, it didn’t feel any worse after his hitting sessions. Soon he was playing twice a week.

Tennis provided Howard, a college professor, with an escape from the dull ache he felt in his fingers, and it was good treatment for his hand. And for his back; it got stronger and stronger the more he played.

He became assistant tennis coach at Georgetown University, and plays club tournaments in Europe on clay on his summer vacations.

An amazing turnaround from a life sentence. He told the full story in January 2007 TENNIS magazine.

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