Dr. Oz not surprised when players recover fully from knee surgeries

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the doctor known for his syndicated weekday health show, told "NFL AM" on Monday that the advancements in medical technology are giving players a better chance of returning from what were once considered career-ending injuries.

For instance, Dr. Oz said the recoveries from knee surgeries by Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III do not surprise him.

"I've learned so much about knee surgeries -- and I've talked to some of the surgeons who have done the pioneering work on them -- that it no longer amazes me," he said. "It's like the 'Bionic Man.' They can literally rebuild the knee the way it was.

"Using different approaches to understanding how the knee really works, you can craft corrections to literally be where it used to be. ... Doctors today have truly understood how knees in these great athletes work, so you can rebuild it. ... It's actually better to have those kind of procedures rather than muscle pulls that take agonizingly months long to repair."

Oz will be part of the football safety clinic for moms Tuesday to be hosted by the Chicago Bears. More than 200 Chicago-area moms will take part in the free clinic at the Chicago Bears practice facility, aimed at teaching them about proper football equipment fitting, concussion awareness and USA Football's Heads Up Football program.

Dr. Oz also discussed his appearance in the NFL's "Together We Make Football" campaign, talking about his decision to let his son play high school football. He said Monday that it took a great deal of thought, but he relied on his own childhood experiences.

"When I was kid, like a lot of adolescents, I was unable to harness the aggressive testosterone-driven energy I had," Dr. Oz said. "I would get thrown out of basketball games. I would swing harder at baseball pitches and miss wildly.

"Football, though, allowed me to harness that energy. It's been an iconic rite of passage for so many men in this country over generations because, in part, it speaks to that male need to go out and prove you're worth it. So when (his son) Oliver, who is a freshman in high school, wanted to play ... I asked 'How do I protect him, but not get in the way of him actually maturing?'

"We went through this big debate in our family. As a doctor, I know the risks of concussion. I had concussions playing sports myself. I understood the risks, but I also know I am only who I am now because I played football. The camaraderie that it taught me, the confidence it gave me, I wanted him to have as well as the discipline that comes along with it. So we let him play and it was probably one of the best decisions we've ever made."

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor

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