UPDATE 4/20/23 15:35 EST: The link to the interview where Paige Pierce discusses her injury was not included. You can find the interview here at the Disc Golf Pro Tour’s YouTube Channel.
Paige Pierce, one of disc golf’s most exceptional players, has been dominating the FPO field for years. Known for her remarkable accuracy and power on the course, Pierce is a formidable opponent for any competitor. However, a persistent injury causing her shoulder and elbow pain has been plaguing her. Despite medical advice against participating in the 2023 Champions Cup by a medical professional, Pierce has opted to compete in the tournament.
It is unclear exactly when Pierce’s injury occurred, as tendonitis often has an insidious onset. Rotator cuff tendonitis, a common injury among throwing athletes, can significantly impact their performance. In Pierce’s case, the injury has caused pain and hindered her ability to perform at her best in recent tournaments. Her struggles were evident in the Waco tournament, where she placed 16th, and the Music City Open, where she ranked 27th. Despite her injury, she managed to secure a first-place finish at the Open at Austin.
Typically caused by repeated overhead activities like throwing a disc, rotator cuff tendonitis can result in inflammation and pain in the shoulder and upper arm. This pain can be particularly debilitating for athletes like Pierce, who depend heavily on their upper body strength and accuracy to excel in their sport. The injury can lead to altered throwing mechanics, causing a loss of accuracy, distance, and consistency.
Although playing through pain may be tempting for many athletes, it is vital to weigh the potential risks involved. Persistently playing with a rotator cuff injury can cause further tendon damage, leading to more severe pain and a longer recovery period. Pierce’s decision to compete in the Champions Cup underscores her grit and determination to perform at the highest level.
It is worth mentioning that the rotator cuff comprises four muscles and tendons working together to provide stability and strength to the shoulder joint. Overuse or misuse of these muscles and tendons can result in inflammation or irritation, causing tendonitis. The severity of rotator cuff tendonitis can vary based on the inflammation and tendon damage extent.
Rotator cuff tendonitis is a prevalent injury that can significantly affect an athlete’s performance in sports like disc golf. While Paige Pierce’s decision to compete in the 2023 Champions Cup, despite medical advice to the contrary, is a testament to her passion for the sport, it is crucial to weigh the potential risks of playing through an injury. Prioritizing long-term health and well-being is essential, as playing through pain can impact an athlete’s future performance and career longevity. By sharing Pierce’s story, we hope to raise awareness about the importance of addressing injuries and promoting responsible decision-making among athletes.