Professional Bowlers Association Tour fraught with injuries


    PBA News

    Bowling is one of the most physically demanding sports

    Football stars are not the only athletes dealing with chronic injury problems. Professional football has recently come under scrutiny for the lingering effects of injuries caused by years of high impact collisions, but doctors are quick to point out that football is not the only sport where athletes are suffering intense physical pain.

    One of the most physically demanding sports, according to medical experts, is professional bowling.

    "Bowling is a repetitive motion sport," says Dr. Steven Siwek, Medical Director of The Pain Center of Arizona, "and one out of every two athletes that comes to my office will come there for a repetitive motion injury."

    Dr. Siwek points out that professional bowlers have numerous physical disadvantages going against them.

    "Simple actions repeated consistently over a long period of time can cause great stress on muscles and joints, and bowlers on the PBA tour are asked to throw sixteen pound bowling balls down a lane with the exact same motion for ten frames a game, often well over fifty games per week. When you consider the stress caused by overuse, then combine it with the intensity of facing elite competition, injuries are inevitable for these athletes."

    For over fifty years, the Professional Bowlers Association has provided entertainment for bowling fans worldwide. The PBA tour allows the best bowlers in the world to compete at the highest levels and yet, despite a tradition steeped in history, professional bowling remains an underground sport struggling for attention and respect.

    Perhaps better known for its somewhat unfortunate portrayal in the media through movies like The Big Lebowski, Kingpin, and even Bowling for Columbine, bowling allows a comfortable existence for only its very best competitors. The life of a professional bowler can be a difficult one.

    Life on the road can take a toll on both the body and the social life of even the very elite of the PBA tour. Chad Harris, CEO of Hotseat Media, and cofounder of "The Pain Channel," recently took a camera crew to the 2011 World Series of Bowling.

    201011PBA06MichaelHaugen3.jpg"We were amazed by the consistency of injuries throughout the bowling world. We were there to cover the pain aspects of competing on the PBA tour, and we were hopeful to find one or two good stories, but literally every bowler we talked to had an unbelievable story about persevering through painful injuries. We actually had to make two episodes because there were just too many injuries to cover."

    The Pain Channel recently released their second episode on injuries in bowling, a feature on Michael Haugen Jr. Haugen Jr. (pictured right) won the 2008 Tournament of Champions, a PBA major title, then injured his finger just weeks later at a charity event. Thought to be a front runner for PBA Player of the Year, his season was cut short. He lost his next season to a knee injury. Now, he is fighting to regain his top form.

    "I'm rolling the dice," Haugen Jr. says of competing with his knee injury, "but that's my living. That's what I do. You look at Favre, he played 297 consecutive games, and it didn't matter what was wrong with that guy, he got up and he played. I'm kind of the same way. If I can walk and I can throw it, I'm going to throw it."

    "The Pain Channel" is a web series devoted to informing the public about proper pain management and care. The episode chronicling Haugen Jr.'s story is currently running at


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