New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is one of the best in the NFL. However, staying healthy hasn’t come easy.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady goes to bed at 8:30 PM, eats avocado ice cream and has never tried a strawberry or coffee in his life. Brady, who is in the best shape of his life, is 40 years old and is still dominating the NFL.
Brady’s teammate, Rob Gronkowski, hasn’t had the same success staying healthy and on the field. Since his days in college, the 6 foot 6 inch tight end has had problems staying on the field.
Gronkowski has had serious injuries to his back, knee and forearm in his career. His first back injury came in 2009, a back vertebral disc hernia. This injury forced him to miss 13 games at Arizona and perhaps forced him to slip into the second round of the NFL Draft.
He then hurt his back yet again in 2013. A fractured vertebrae resulted in surgery which left Gronk on the bench for six games. Then this past season, Gronk suffered his second back vertebral disc hernia and was placed on the IR in Week 10.
As for his forearm, Gronk suffered injuries in back-to-back seasons. He sustained a fracture to his forearm in 2012 and missed the following five games. The next season, he re-fractured his left arm, but was only sidelined for three quarters plus the following week. He did receive surgery that offseason and now wears a heavy brace on his left arm in game.
Gronk’s right knee has also taken a beating throughout his career. In 2013, a crushing low blow from T.J. Ward tore Gronk’s right ACL. HEe was placed on the IR for the last four games of the regular season.
Two seasons later, Broncos safety Darian Stewart delivered a crushing blow to Gronk’s right knee. He rolled around in pain and had to be carted off, but missed just one game after straining his knee.
After his latest season ending back surgery, Gronk has now started training with Brady’s health guru Alex Guerrero.
"“Just looking at Tom, seeing what he does every day, what he eats, talking to him, personally one-on-one, just learning about the body with him, just seeing how flexible he is, how pliable he is, how loose he is all the time, every day and ready to go, I just felt like it was the time in my career where I needed to devote myself at all levels,” Gronk told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald."
Working with Guerrero, who runs Brady’s TB12 Sports Therapy Center, Gronk is trying to improve his flexibility and durability.
"“I just felt like I had to add on to what I was doing. Find a way that my body will respond so I can perform every day. Be in prevention mode for injuries happening,” said Gronkowski. “I definitely feel like a brand new guy just being able to do exercises here (at TB12). Exercises that help stabilize your core, exercises that help me and my whole body.”"
For Gronk, the program requires resistance band work, deep tissue massage and of course a strict diet.
"“I’m getting massage therapy, I’m learning about hydration, I’m learning about nutrition,” he said. “It’s helping me expand my game.”"
As for the diet, alcohol has never been something Brady is associated with. It is a different story for Gronk however. With the new program, every alcoholic drink he consumes, Gronkowski has to drink at least three glasses of water.
"“Rob has been really committed,” Guerrero said. “He’s done a great job. The foundation has been set. Certainly, we’re not done.”"
The Patriots recently gave Gronkowski a new contract extension in the offseason. The contract is heavily incentive based, rewarding Gronkowski if he stays healthy and on the field. If he reaches his incentives and his production continues, he will be the highest paid tight end in 2017.
Gronk is easily the games best tight end and one of the best in NFL history. If some avocado ice cream helps him stay on the field, he should be all for it.