Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton released the first episode of a new video blog on Thursday morning, that features an inside look at his recent shoulder procedure.
The episode called “What’s wrong with my shoulder?” shows Newton preparing for surgery and taking viewers through the frustrations he experienced with his sore right shoulder during the 2018 season.
The video blog, which is hosted on Newton’s new YouTube channel in partnership with production companies Iconic Saga and Liquid Light, will feature Newton’s life on and off the field — including a look at his 7on7 football league and his fashion and business pursuits.
“I look forward to taking a deeper dive into my life through this YouTube channel and also developing a variety of passion projects,” said Newton. “Prepare yourself for ‘The Drip.’”
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Here’s what we learned from Episode 1: “What’s wrong with my shoulder?”
▪ The episode begins with Newton in a hospital bed, counting down from 100 after having taken anesthetic ahead of his arthroscopic scope procedure, which took place on Jan. 24.
Already, we see a raw, vulnerable side of Newton we don’t often get — the scope will show doctors what is wrong with the shoulder that landed him on Carolina’s injury report since Week 8 of the 2018 season, but there is still a lot unknown at this point. Newton is a little loopy from the anesthetic, and laughs at himself a little. Anyone who has ever had surgery can relate.
▪ We can also relate to the funny hospital-issued socks Newton wore ahead of his surgery, which he pointed to in a lighthearted moment while under anesthesia as his “surgery drip.”
▪ The Observer reported last week that the arthroscopic procedure, which in part involved a small camera inserted into Newton’s shoulder (a “scope”) was not only to see definitively where the issues were, but also to clean out scar tissue around some ligaments that might have been limiting Newton’s range of motion. Newton mentions the scope checking out the area around his rotator cuff (which was repaired in 2017, after a partial tear) and his labrum.
We learn from the nurse attending to Newton before the surgery that the procedure is called “arthroscopic irrigation and debridement.” This confirms that Newton essentially had a “wash-out” or a “clean-out” of his shoulder.
▪ Head coach Ron Rivera told the Observer last week that Newton has already gotten lots of range of motion back in his throwing arm.
Dr. Pat Connor, who performed Newton’s procedure, is seen in the episode explaining to Newton that the cartilage damage is much less severe than they originally thought.
Connor said if they could get good range of motion back, they’d be in great shape. Rivera later confirmed that Newton had indeed done so.
All signs so far point to a great recovery for Newton.
▪ Newton describes in the vlog a feeling of isolation as he began to realize something was still plaguing his arm, despite his long rehabilitation process in 2017 from surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.
He said he was scared, and began to push away family and friends.
“I backed myself into this hole,” he said. “And I was hurting.”
In his position, and in the NFL, Newton said, it sometimes feels like he can’t show any signs of weakness.
“But I was weak,” he said.
▪ Newton said he could tell defenses were starting to key in on the fact that he was hurt and couldn’t throw the ball very far, which was another point of frustration.
“I didn’t know what was wrong,” he said. “I just knew it hurt, and knew it was an issue.
“I couldn’t throw the ball farther than like, 30 yards. No lie.”
▪ Newton heard the chatter that floated around as he was struggling with his shoulder, that questioned whether he had seen his best days.
That fuels him for 2019, he said, as he works toward a full recovery.