Anthony Giansanti of Montville, Conn. first picked up a bat at age 4 and began playing competitively at 9. It’s in his blood: Giansanti’s grandfather and his grandfather’s nine brothers started their own league in Hartford in the 1950s.
A unique, all-around utility player with the ability to play all nine positions on the baseball field, including pitcher, Giansanti played for Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., with an eye to professional baseball.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play professionally,” says Giansanti, 27. But while still in college, his upper right leg started bothering him, threatening that dream.
During his freshman year at Siena, Giansanti was running to first base during a game against Tulane University when he experienced what he says felt like a gunshot in his upper right leg. The hamstring injury put Giansanti on the sidelines for two months. He did special pool exercises, underwent ultrasound and muscle stimulation therapy, and rested every day.
No matter what he did, the injury continued to resurface. And after college, when he joined the Chicago Cubs organization and began playing on a variety of Cubs-affiliated minor league teams around the country before joining the Bridgeport Bluefish, it repeatedly flared up, benching him for two to three weeks each time.
On the recommendation of other athletes, Giansanti visited UConn Health’s sports medicine expert Dr. Cory Edgar, who sees patients at UConn Health Storrs Center and is an orthopaedic team physician for UConn Athletics.
Edgar and Dr. Matthew Hall, another Huskies team physician, diagnosed him with a hole in his hamstring, and suggested an advanced, injectable, and natural treatment called platelet-rich plasma (PRP), followed by physical therapy and rehabilitation.
For four months, Giansanti practiced extensive strength training and stretching. He received two PRP injections, six weeks apart.
“Doctors at UConn Health used samples of my own blood, spinning it down to get access to the best and richest blood cells, and then injected it into the weakest part of my muscle to rebuild my hamstring,” says Giansanti. “Basically, they built me a new hamstring with this advanced treatment using my own blood cells.”
Edgar says doctors don’t know exactly what leads to hamstring injuries, because so many variables can be involved with this muscle in the leg, from a lack of hydration to a simple misstep while walking or running.
But the treatment worked. “I now have absolutely no issues with my hamstring,” Giansanti says. “I am faster and stronger than ever before. I have no pain, and I feel like I have an 18-year-old’s hamstring.”
Giansanti recommends to other athletes and recreational athletes to always stay as loose as possible, stretching daily, and stresses the importance of hydration even the night before workouts or athletic events. Also, he stresses the importance of seven to eight hours of sleep for your body to recover, and limiting light from your cell phone and television to get your optimal sleep. Also stay on routine and follow your routine every day.
Giansanti is continuing to showcase his baseball abilities with the Bridgeport Blue Fish, and hopes to re-sign with a major league baseball affiliated team soon.
“Anthony is a legend here in Connecticut,” says Edgar. “His recovery was very rapid, I treated him and a month later he was reporting to spring training.”