The World Series may be in full swing, but a professional baseball player from Connecticut is making news for turning his own game around.
Montville native Anthony Giansanti received a career-saving treatment for a chronic injury.
Giansanti said baseball was a dream turned into reality.
"Growing up, I just loved the game," he told Eyewitness News. "My dad always told me it was an incredible passion. Like, he would have to drag me off the field. I'd wake him up and pull his eyelids up over his face, and [say] 'wake up let's go to the field!'"
Giansanti said he started playing ball when he was 5 years old. It's a passion that's stayed with him ever since.
"I was a shortstop growing up and in little league [and] high school," he said. "But my college coach said my skill set would make me a better outfielder."
However, something happened during the spring of his freshman year at Siena College. It would affect his body for years to come.
"I hit a ground ball, and I was busting it to first base and after it I felt like I got shot, my hamstring just felt like it exploded," Giansanti said. "I fell into the first base coach's arms and kind of laid me down and I had a pretty bad hamstring tear."
It took two months to get back out on the field.
"I definitely wasn't ready with that two months," Giansanti said. "I just kind of was young and wanted to bounce back and I didn't realize that I had probably lost a couple steps."
It also wasn't the first time he had trouble with his hamstring.
"Because I had spent so much time concentrating on this hamstring, I neglected my other hamstring and I ended up pulling it the next season and then vice-versa," he said.
Despite a handful of hamstring tears, Giansanti managed to champion through college baseball.
"I would pop some Ibuprofen, wrap it up and make a makeshift hamstring and just get out there and do what I could for my team," he said.
Shortly after graduating, he joined the Chicago Cubs.
"I was a good athlete, and I was fast," Giansanti said. "So taking two steps off of my fastest speed, I was still effective. So I think that was another blessing and curse that I could get away with that."
Last year, while play for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, he experienced the same shotgun pain he felt his freshman year.
This time, he want to see Dr. Cory Edgar at the UConn Health.
Edgar told Giansanti that he had a 3 centimeter hole in his hamstring.
"Cases like Anthony's are not uncommon," Edgar said. "Typically when muscles try to heal themselves, the organization is poor and therefore [a] weaker spot of scar tissue within the hamstring muscle belly, so they're very prone to re-injury."
Edgar recommended a natural, yet advanced treatment that could help Giansanti's body rebuild his hamstring.
"The treatment is known as platelet-rich plasma," Edgar said.
Also known as PRP, it involves injecting the patient with their own blood.
"It's spun down and concentrated," Edgar said. "We take a certain subset of that blood that has growth factors that we know could potentiate a healing process."
On average, he said most patients receive a series of at least two to three injections.
"We repeat an injection at about 4 weeks to 6 weeks to facilitate that biologic enhancement," Edgar said.
Then, they reevaluate the scar tissue.
"You get the shot and it feels like you have a Charlie horse for a couple weeks," Giansanti said. "It took every ounce of me to trust the process."
After the injections end, the patient must commit to two to four months of stringent physical therapy.
"I think part of the magic is allowing the athlete to focus on their condition," Edgar said.
As for Giansanti's status, he made it through the treatment and therapy. He'll be ready for spring training.
"I didn't have this sensation since I was 18-years-old of being free with my muscles and my athleticism," Giansanti said.
Giansanti said he played for the Bridgeport Bluefish this year and is hoping his new lease on life will lead him to bigger contracts.
"Being able to do this is like I've been, [I'm] set free again and I'm going to take advantage of that," he said.
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