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Andre Drummond talks nasal surgery at Halo Burger opening

Apparently Dre was breathing through only one nostril for the past fours years.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons
Time for a breathing coach fellas?
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Every year you read about someone in the NBA getting offseason surgery; sometimes it’s for bone spurs, fluid in the knee, even vision correction. At the opening of his signature Halo Burger in Fenton (Fenton? Dre, we’re moving downtown! But I digress) Andre Drummond discussed just having had surgery to repair a deviated septum that he has had at least partially since UConn.

From an article in MLive:

Drummond is looking forward to a productive summer, though. His first order of business was getting his nose fixed. The 6-foot-11 center recently underwent surgery in New York to correct a deviated septum in his left nostril.

"It was probably the best thing I did because right now I feel outstanding and I'm breathing great," Drummond said. "It's going to be a great summer for me."

The problem has been lingering since his lone college season at UConn in 2012-13, but it's gotten progressively worse.

Breathing at only 50 percent capacity out of your nose seems like a damn legit reason to be gassed during games to me. I mean when you’re sucking in air after hard exercise everyone knows it’s the nose that brings in the air more effectively, right?

The lungs are a primary source of our energy level. They extract oxygen from the air we breathe primarily on the exhale. Because the nostrils are smaller than the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates back pressure when one exhales. It slows the air escape so the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from them. When there is proper oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange, the blood will maintain a balanced pH. If carbon dioxide is lost too quickly, as in mouth breathing, oxygen absorption is decreased.

Also, when mouth breathing, the brain thinks carbon dioxide is being lost too quickly and sensing this, will stimulate the goblet cells to produce mucous, slow the breathing and cause constriction of blood vessels. Breathing through the nose also limits air intake and forces one to SLOW down. Proper nose breathing reduces hypertension and stress for most people. Kind of like a speed control (governor) on a car engine.

So after my exhaustive research consulting the experts at that fine website this surgery could indeed be a huge boost for Andre’s performance going forward.

"Obviously, you need both nostrils to play but I'm hardheaded so I didn't want to do it at the time," Drummond said. "I didn't' feel like it was the right time to do it so I just figured a different way until I got a chance to do it so that's how I played for four years. I made it work.

"I didn't do that bad. I still was an All-Star, I still was All-NBA, I still made certain things work but this season was probably my toughest breathing year for me."

I would love it if he would expound on what “I just figured a different way” means. If that is him breathing more through his mouth the above research points to the obvious that that way doesn’t work, so in essence this surgery seems like an encouraging development. Yet it also begs the question: if this condition hampered his breathing in a sport where you arguably run more constantly and harder than most others, why didn’t the Pistons staff strongly encourage him to do it earlier? I’m guessing a team can’t demand a player to have surgery but I’m sure there must be some sort of clause in contracts to require surgery when necessary.

I guess we will all just have to wait with until the 2017-18 season to see how much impact the surgery really has.

Big Penguin! We’re pulling for you to not only return to form but blow past that form like the NBA world was hoping and really in a way expecting you to.


In reading about proper nose breathing I seemed to remember Reggie Jackson - who of course has asthma and struggles with being gassed during games - breathing through pursed lips. I couldn’t find any video but found this picture:

Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

Could it be that in the new era of sports medicine the Pistons most important coach besides a shooting coach is a breathing coach?


One more juicy nugget from the Dre interview:

"I never left," Drummond said. "Just because I might have had an offseason, that doesn't make me a terrible player. It's a lot of guys that sit behind a desk all day and just talk.

Hey he was kinda talking about us!!! If you read this Andre make sure to read the encouraging part in there.