At the inaugural strongman contest at the 2021 Rogue Invitational won by 2019 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Martins Licis, four-time WSM champion Brian Shaw suffered a hamstring injury in the first event. On his second attempt in the Elephant Bar Deadlift, with 911 pounds on the barbell, Shaw suffered a hamstring injury that caused him to fail the lift and pull out of that event. That injury prevented him from making an attempt in the Inver Stones event, leading to an overall seventh-place rank.
Following the contest, Shaw was tipped by fellow strongman Jerry Pritchett, about a specialized treatment that he used for nerve damage sustained his hips. Pritchett fought through that injury at the 2021 WSM contest in the qualifying stage. The procedure is Alpha-2-Macroglobulin (A2M) injection, where a protein molecule found in the blood is filtered, concentrated, and reinjected in the affected area to aid the healing process.
Check out the full video below, courtesy of Shaw’s YouTube channel. Viewer discretion advised — the video shows visuals of Shaw’s procedure as well as his blood being drawn.
Shaw flew to Suprise, AZ, where Pritchett picked him up from the airport and drove him to Active Life Physical Medicine and Pain Center to meet its founder and Medical Director, Dr. Wendi Lundquist.
The first step in the process at Active Life was drawing 120cc’s of Shaw’s blood to spin in a centrifuge at 38 rotations per minute (RPM) to separate and remove its platelets. The goal was to retrieve growth factors in the blood that can stimulate Shaw’s stem cells to promote healing through a repair cycle, thereby creating new tissue and circumventing the need for surgery.
The platelets are frozen and then recombined with the A2M and thrombin — an enzyme in blood plasma — for reinjection into Shaw’s hamstring. Lundquist expects Shaw to notice results around the six-week mark after injection, and continue to feel significant improvements at about three months and through the following year.
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Once in the operating room, Shaw received an epidural to numb his legs to prevent any feeling during the injection. The doctors isolated Shaw’s injury from the Rogue Invitational and residual damage in his hamstring from an injury he sustained in 2019.
Following the procedure, Shaw remained in the Active Life Center until he regained feeling in his legs a few hours later. According to Shaw, the procedure was “really, really successful,” and he was satisfied with fixing the issue rather than simply applying a “band-aid” to the injury, which could become a weakness for him in competition. When talking about the A2M procedure, Pritchett informed Shaw that doing the injection now would likely enable him to be healthy for “Worlds” in 2022, referring to the WSM contest.
It is unclear if Shaw will compete before the 2022 WSM contest tentatively scheduled for August 2022 in Sacramento, CA. However, suppose Shaw is, in fact, healthy again to compete by the summer of 2022. In that case, he will have the opportunity to improve upon his runner-up finish at the 2021 WSM contest and potentially score his record-tying fifth WSM title.
Featured image:@shawstrength on Instagram