Peter Abraham: Bobby Jenks' Harrowing Tale

Bobby Jenks makes a great deal of money: $6 million this season.

He might not even have to pitch for his $6 million, as he's recently been placed on the 60-day disabled list with serious back issues. Last December, Jenks had spine surgery. Then things got worse. Pete Abraham:

"I don't know whose fault it was. But there was an error done inside," said Jenks, who landed on the disabled list twice last season because of back pain. "I had four bone spurs on my spine. We talked about taking the top two out. The third one was started and not finished. So basically there was a serrated edge that sliced me open in two different spots and I was leaking spinal fluid."

Jenks said the fluid pooled at the bottom of his incision and was constantly leaking. When he went to get it checked, he was rushed into surgery that day.

"It kind of blew up on me," he said. "It caused an infection to climb up that incision wound. So now I had an infection in my spine. It was a combination of everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.

"If I didn't have it done immediately, the infection could've gotten into my spinal fluid and up to my brain. Who knows what happens then? I could obviously not be here right now."

When I was 19, I had an infection and the left side of my face made me look like the Elephant Man. The doctors at the university infirmary kept giving me aspirin, for the pain. When I finally saw a private physician, he suggested that I have my face lanced in three places immediately, before the infection spread to my brain and really hurt.

So, yeah. You think you're invulnerable until you're not. Professional athletes, especially. And it's quite possible that Jenks never would have gone through any of this if he weren't a professional athlete. Which is worth remembering, the next time you hear someone railing against professional athletes and their easy lives.

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