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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz being diagnosed with a little heard of disorder has many asking — what is it and is it real? Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a syndrome that causes pain and weakness around the neck, shoulder and arm.
The 76ers say that’s what has been wrong with Fultz.
People who have it say it can be debilitating. Melissa Fairfield has Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, where nerves and blood vessels in the neck, upper chest and shoulder are impinged.
“This is as far as it goes up,” said Fairfield. “It just shoots pain down your arm.”
Fultz, the 2017 first overall pick, has been diagnosed with the same thing.
Apparently, it’s what has been causing him to have difficulty shooting.
Fairfield says she feels bad for him because, “you can’t really do a lot.”
Fairfield, who was a nurse, says it took years to get the diagnosis and nothing has worked for her to relieve symptoms of the rare condition.
“I’ve never ran into anybody who’s been given this diagnosis,” said Fairfield.
Her condition was caused by a car accident but TOS can also be caused by repetitive motions of the arm and shoulder and it’s more common among athletes who use their arms.
The Sixers say Fultz is out indefinitely, as he focuses on physical therapy. If that doesn’t work, surgery to remove ribs is another treatment option but it is not always successful.
For Fairfield, doctors initially thought her problem might be bone spurs, but shoulder surgery didn’t help, and now she’s learned to live with the pain.
“It’s not something made up, it’s long-term chronic pain that he’s going to be dealing with,” said Fairfield.
She says she also suffers with chronic headaches, another common symptom of TOS.
The 76ers say further updates on Fultz will be provided as appropriate.