Thursday, October 23, 2008

Eddy Van Guyse 35 Years after "Breaking Away"

Some of you may not know Eddy Van Guyse by name but you will remember the hit out of nowhere that he played in;"Breaking Away". Eddy played the Italian villain that put a bike pump into the spokes of the young Italian bike racer wannabe Dave Stohler and shattered his view of the way the world really works. The movie had a great script and Peter Yates directing of "Bullitt" and "The French Connection" fame but it needed someone with racing experience to breathe authenticity into it. That someone was a young Belgian bike racer who grew up in Chicago 3 blocks from Wrigley Field, named Eddy Van Guyse. Eddy told me he won the part with his swarthy Italian "look" and wore a shirt with the top buttons undone chest hair and all. I saw the film when I was in high school and after getting goose bumps watching the bike racing scenes decided I.U. was the place for me. I've gotten to know Eddy through our mutual continued interest in cycling through the CSC bike race in Arlington and the bond from riding in the Little 500 at IU in different eras. I've had the conversation since, that had he not lent his technical expertise to the film it probably would not have rung true even though it was great story and I never would have ended up going to Indiana.

Ben: Eddy do you think kids today will relate to "Breaking Away" the way that my generation did in the late 70's?

Eddy: I think humans have not changed at the core. We all have brains, hearts and blood pumping through them.
Kids today may have a stronger index finger from punching the buttons on video games and computers but they still relate to a good story. One thing I find is that kids have more trouble making eye contact and connecting in general. The best teachers i had growing up were also able to articulate a good story.

Ben: You've told me in the past that Peter Yates pulled you aside for technical advice on the movie "Breaking Away".
You put the kabash on the bikes with reflectors and coaster brakes that were going to be used for the movie.

Eddy:When I met Peter Yates I asked him if he wanted to make a movie that had bike rides featured or did he want to make a movie about bike racing.
There were some things on the bikes that they gathered that not give the look of a bike racing movie. He said "Eddy we need to talk to you more about this "

Ben: You mentioned that you were a pretty good baseball player and being 3 blocks away from Wrigley field, what made you choose bike racing over baseball?

Eddy: We played makeshift baseball with a rubber ball against a wall in an alley painted with a square. This was the era of free range kids. My mother called us alley cats and would say things like "Come inside you alley cats!" as it approached 9 o clock at night. My family took me to the velodrome races in Konshen and Northbrook in Chicago and I could see that they admired the racers as I did and I decided I wanted to become a bike racer. The decision was of my own free will. My parents encouraged me to make my own choices.

Ben: You told me your father was a big influence in your life and that he was a people person and that's where you got that gift.

Eddy: My father survived three months in a concentration camp during World War 11 and almost a year after he was deported to a work camp. When we came to Chicago he was very good at reading people. He could smell a rat and one thing I remember was how he was very outspoken aabout Fidel Castro being a dictator when he rose to power before it became apparent to everyone. The Belgian community in Chicago was important to my father.

Ben:What would you tell someone who wants to be a bike racer.

Eddy: Are you ready to deal with pain. People also don't realize how lonely the training can be to be. A champion is able to ignore the pain

Ben: How did you develop as a bike racer?

Eddy: I was 5'6" my freshman year at !U. When I was an intermediate racer I could not crunch down the big gears like the big boys in the sprints on the track but I had endurance. I finished my freshman year at 6 foot. Now I was able to add
more power to my racing but my strength was as a road racer.

Ben: You've said before that the "Little 500" race felt like a gladiator entering the arena...

Eddy You have no other intramural event like it with a stadium built for 30,000 people for a bike race. The other thing about the "Little 500" is that it is a team race. I've done Madison races and other amateur team events but this was a more defined team event. The racers that have been through the Little 5 at I.U. become like your brothers.

Ben: What are your views on professional sports in America.

Eddy: I have a 4 letter word for what pro athletes do: P-L-A-Y while the rest of us
W-O-R-K. Athletes should keep this in perspective.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Imaging Sports Injuries

Many athletes tend to “push through the pain,” continuing to work out even when it hurts. There are times when you may just be fighting through muscle fatigue, and continuing your workouts makes sense. If you are having severe pain or other physical symptoms, such as limitations in motion or giving way, these are more likely to send you to see a health care professional. Athletes often continue to train through chronic or lower grade pain, however. Unfortunately, continued stress of an injury or abnormality say lead to serious consequences. Continued ligament or cartilage damage may lead to the need for corrective surgery. How do you know if you are one of the athletes who could develop serious consequences from continued workouts without treatment?

The first step in evaluating a sports injury is seeing a health professional. They will do a physical exam, and will probably order xrays. Xrays will pick up bone changes, and may suggest a soft tissue injury. Many subtle abnormalities are not visible on xray, however, and CT or MRI is needed as the next step in evaluation. CT is best at looking at the cortex of bone- the hard shell around the softer inner marrow. This is good for looking for a fracture, stress thickening of bone cortex (early stress changes before a fracture), and degenerative bone changes. Newer “multi-slice” CT scanners can now image your leg or arm in just a few seconds, with crystal clear pictures of the bone. Software allows the reconstruction of the 2 dimensional CT images into 3D pictures which improve diagnostic accuracy.

MRI is best suited to looking at the marrow core inside the bone cortex and for evaluating all the many soft tissues that you use in sports (muscle, tendon, ligament, and cartilage). There are many injuries an MRI can demonstrate that would be missed on xrays. A meniscus tear in the knee of a runner, a rotator cuff tear in a tennis player, or a ligament tear in the wrist of a golfer, for example. These could be repaired surgically. Ignoring the pain from one of these injuries may lead to degenerative changes in the bone that could not be repaired easily, and could curtail your continued sports activity. Milder injuries seen on MRI can often be successfully treated by medication, an injection, or physical therapy, getting you back to pain-free training or competition. Newer MRI advances include higher strength magnets, including a 3T closed magnet and 1.2-1.5T open magnets. These are sort of like having higher pixels on your digital camera, giving sharper and better pictures.

CT or MRI imaging may also show that you have no significant abnormality. This could free you to continue training as tolerated, without the worry of having bone or soft tissue damage. Treatment of your pain or injury, or the peace of mind from knowing there is no significant soft tissue or bone injury, is a great reason to talk to a health professional if you are having pain. This can help you keep reaching for your personal athletic best for years to come.

This is an editorial submitted by Dr M. Kraut, MD. Dr. Kraut is a board-certified musculoskeletal fellowship-trained radiologist who also trained first as an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Kraut has competed in swimming and track, and also completed several triathlons. Dr. Kraut works at MRI of Richmond, and reads musculoskeletal cases for Tyson’s Corner Diagnostic Imaging and Vienna Diagnostic Imaging in northern Virginia. Website

plantar fasciitis

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Paul Newman

Not a sports medicine post per se but this video of Paul Newman's charitable foundation reminds us that giving is sometimes better than recieving and something we can all strive to emulate.