The Washington Nationals’ $210 million dollar man continues to deal with a sore neck that he accredits to poor sleep. Fortunately for Max Scherzer, science has an answer for his conundrum.
Washington Nationals fans are hoping that the Max Scherzer neck injury won’t plague the frontline starter into the postseason, and it might not have to. There is a simple solution that might address the cause of Scherzer’s symptoms.
On Aug. 1 in a road game at Miami that Scherzer started, he left the game in the second inning complaining of neck spasms.
After the game, Scherzer explained to the media what was going on.
“I’ve had this pop up before,” Scherzer said. “Use different pillows sometimes, it can just put a crick in your neck. And that’s what happened. You do anything you can before a game to try to loosen it up. Went out there and warmed up OK, at least to start up the game. Kind of hurt myself turning left. First inning I could tell I wasn’t right. Hard for me to pick up the target.
While Scherzer and the Nationals downplayed the problem at the time, it seems that it isn’t going away so easily. Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Scherzer is going to miss his next start, slated for Friday, because of the neck injury.
It seems that the issue is something that Scherzer and the Nationals are going to have to address. Fortunately for them, there is a possible solution that is easily obtained.
Bedgear is a sleep system that provides custom solutions for customers such as mattresses and pillows. Bedgear CEO Eugene Alletto thinks that it could help Scherzer with his issue.
“There’s too much money at stake to have a bad night’s sleep,” Alletto said. “It’s just like not eating or hydrating properly. Ultimately, the financial world for these players revolves around their ability to perform at a high level. Not sleeping well can get in the way of that. In particular, this neck issue is a common problem. The width of your shoulders and the position that you sleep in are what produces neck issues. Also, sleep repairs the body, and it’s an area that professional sports teams suck at.
“These teams manage the players’ lives in terms of exercise, food and transportation,” Alletto continued. “However, when the players get home or get to the hotel, the teams do nothing to support their sleeping habits. We recognized that heat and fit can dramatically affect the quality of sleep. Science shows that the body temperature needs to drop a degree in order for the body to enter a full state of rest. We spent five years developing sizing algorithms that fit athletes, and these are the reasons why our products are different.”
Alletto’s confidence is more than just promoting his own product. The Boston Red Sox have already taken advantage of the sleep technology that Bedgear can provide with a custom sleep room. Additionally, the Dallas Mavericks have also begun utilizing Bedgear products. Given the investment that the Nationals have already made in Scherzer, $210 million over seven years, it seems that the few dollars it would take to fit Scherzer with a custom pillow is nothing in comparison.
“At the end of the day, it’s a $210 million investment into human capital,” Alletto commented. “When you think about that, for a couple of thousand dollars, you can eliminate not just the problem he is having today, but more importantly you can get the maximum value out of that investment because you are insuring that he is getting the appropriate amount and quality of sleep. Focusing on fixing the problem isn’t the real story. Sleep is what is going to fuel the investment as much as the infield that is built around him.”
Pillows are easily transported on road trips, but Alletto says that his company is working on a greater solution for athletes who travel often.
“One of the big challenges for teams is traveling to the west coast,” Alletto stated. “There has been talk in MLB about changing game times, because it’s not only bad for the athletes but for the fans as well. People are up until 2 a.m. playing and watching games. The feedback we have gotten from athletes is that they want travel gear. Because of that, we are developing Bedgear To Go.”
Given the dollars, and the hopes for postseason success, that the Nationals have invested in Scherzer, it would seem that the Nationals can no longer afford to simply wish Scherzer’s neck issues away. The time has come to end the days of Scherzer being at the mercy of hotel pillows by taking advantage of modern science.