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Dec. 1, 2012

New Knees Propel Sidewinders to Title

Jack Sirard contributing writer
PHOENIX - The Sidewinders of Arizona won the tough eight-team Winter Worlds 65AAA Division here in November by taking five games in a row in bracket play, but that’s only part of the story.

For this is no ordinary team. In fact, it’s a team of players who have had multiple knee transplants.

Bill Jenkins, who manages the team from Sun City, said that outfielder Rich Collins had transplants on both knees on Nov. 15, 2011.

“Two weeks later, I had the same operation and amazingly enough we were both out there playing within a year,” he added.

Jenkins, who is the team’s pitcher, pointed out that two other players, catcher Art Nelson and outfielder Bob Ross, had had single knee transplants.

So if you’re keeping score, that’s one team with six new knees.

In addition to taking the title, Jenkins, 66, said that Collins hit a whopping .785 following surgery and all four players are playing pain free.

“You’d be amazed to see how quickly we were up and running.

A lot of players continue to play in pain because they are afraid that if they have surgery, they’ll never be able to come back and play like they once did. So they take cortisone shots or pain pills and really don’t do themselves any good,” Jenkins said.

“A lot of us who have had the surgery tell ourselves that we are doing it for our wives or for the grandkids, but in many cases, it’s just so that we can play the game of softball pain free,” he added.
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