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New Knees Propel Sidewinders to Title

Dec. 1, 2012 – 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 thatís only part of the story.

For this is no ordinary team. In fact, itís 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.

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

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

So if youíre keeping score, thatís 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.

ďYouíd 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, theyíll never be able to come back and play like they once did. So they take cortisone shots or pain pills and really donít do themselves any good,Ē Jenkins said.

ďA 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, itís just so that we can play the game of softball pain free,Ē he added.

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