So my recently diagnosed Raynaud's has thrown me for a loop this Spring. As the warmish spring afternoons sneak into chilly sunless evenings, I find that the cold sneaks up on me. Before I know it, I'm left with a handful of numb, stark white fingers that are anything but nimble. And they hurt. Thus, in our friendly neighborhood touch football games, I've, ahem, lost my touch.
Not that I have a very good arm anyway. It's just that I enjoy getting out there and tossing the ball around with the neighbor kids. But when your fingers are numb, you can't throw. Nor can you catch. So my illustrious football career has come to a screeching halt - at least after sunset. But as these chilly spring nights give way to warm summer evenings - watch out. The Gormanator will be back.
But this led me to believe that it would be very difficult for a professional athlete to manage a successful career with Raynaud's. Certainly not a football quarterback, or a pitcher in baseball. Nor would a golfer have much luck with no feeling in his or her fingertips. But in doing a little research, I found that at least one pro baseball player pressed on, despite his Raynaud's.
According to Wikipedia, two time Cy Young Award winning pitcher Tom Glavine was diagnosed with Raynaud's Syndrome in 1990, right in the middle of a successful career as the second-winningest pitcher in the National League. With 164 victories during the 1990s, it doesn't seem like his Raynaud's was holding him back.
Later in his career, when he was with the Mets, Glavine got a scare in August 2006. His pitching shoulder was tested for a blood clot because he was suffering from coldness in his left ring finger. This was originally thought to be a symptom of Raynaud's syndrome. According to the pitcher, "Doctors... picked something up when they did the ultrasound." The results of that new test showed the problem could be treated with medicine, and Glavine resumed pitching on September 1, against the Houston Astros. He went on to pitch for a couple more years.
Well, I guess he showed me. If you come across any other pro athletes living with Raynaud's, let me know. We'll add them to the list of inspiring people, living well, despite their illnesses!