During the game Sandy's left arm swells. "You measure the whole arm before and after the game," said Dr. Woods, "and there's a tremendous difference. Most pitchers' arms swell but on Sandy it's a very definite change in size, as much as an inch, especially up around the shoulders—the upper arm. The reason for this is he's using centrifugal force that propels a great deal of blood into the arm and the blood doesn't get a chance to come back because he's repeating the action time after time after time."
Trainers Buhler and Anderson reduce the swelling after the game by having Koufax stick his elbow in a sink full of ice for 20 to 30 minutes. To prevent his skin from being burned by the ice, he puts his arm through two cutoff wind-breaker sleeves before submerging. If there is no sink available on the road, he uses a bucket or anything else that is handy. Application of a pregame ointment is an old routine, but he has been getting the frozen-daiquiri treatment only since the arthritis was discovered.
A medical expert could look at the Koufax index finger today and find no trace of the former trouble, but there always is a threat that the arthritis in Sandy's elbow will knock him out of the starting rotation and ruin the Dodgers' pennant chances. Before and after he pitches he takes Butazolidin alka, orange-and-white capsules that are described by Dr. Kerlan as an "anti-inflammatory medication you cannot take promiscuously. You have to take it under rigid control."
"He still gets swelling between games," says Dr. Kerlan. "Nobody knows when it will swell too much. He's bound to have another flare-up sometime, just as sure as the sun sets."
The Dodgers are praying that the sun will not set before late October—and will rise again in March.
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