Thursday, April 27, 2006

Case History Shows It's Hard to Keep Helton Down

Todd Helton is the kind of player who could be run over by a Coors Beer truck and still be in the Rockies lineup the next day. His entire career shows a history of strength, good health and resistance to injury and illness. Helton, 32, has been on the disabled list only once before, last year with a strained calf when it cost him just 14 games. If anyone can bounce back from Crohn's Disease it would be Helton, but it's still wide open as to just how quickly Helton will be back. Crohn's Disease is primarily an intestinal disorder, but it can strike anywhere in the gastrointestinal system from the anus to the tonsils, each area being given various designations in the world of medical nominclature. In Helton's case, the affliction is known as terminal ileitis, meaning that it is manifested at the end of the intestine. Historically, those afflicted with the malady can return to near normal activity within a few weeks, while some victims are out for much longer, a rare few even requiring surgery to remove sections of intestine. Based on Helton's past, depend on the rugged first baseman to be among the more fortunate individuals, back sooner rather than later.