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Syracuse basketball forward Marek Dolezaj undergoes cupping treatment to remedy neck stiffness

The bruise on the back of Marek Dolezaj’s neck was not a tattoo.

NCAA Basketball: North Florida at Syracuse Richard Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

After the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball game against Oakland, junior forward Marek Dolezaj noticed he had a stiff neck. He doesn’t remember the exact play, but thinks something happened in the beginning of that Oakland game.

To alleviate that stiffness, he underwent a cupping treatment with Syracuse trainer Brad Pike recently. Pike and Dolezaj tried other treatments initially, but Dolezaj suggested that nothing else worked quite as well as cupping.

“We tried some other things and nothing really worked,” Dolezaj said. “After Brad Pike tried this it helped.”

Cupping is an alternative form of deep tissue massage, which applies a specialized cup to the skin. Once the cup is applied to the targeted location on the body, suction is created. This is meant to assuage pain in the affected area, reduce inflammation and help with blood flow. In this case, it was meant to reduce the stiffness in Dolezaj’s neck and it worked.

Syracuse fans might have noticed a bruise on the back of Dolezaj’s neck recently. Some folks approached him and asked if it was a tattoo, which made Dolezaj laugh.

This isn’t the first time Dolezaj, or a Syracuse player for that matter, has tried this form of treatment. Dolezaj said he’s previously tried it on his leg, and said that sophomore guard Howard Washington has also tried cupping this year.

Anyhow, Dolezaj says he is relieved of his neck pain. Since undergoing the treatment, he’s had 26 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals in two games, albeit against lesser competition.

“Injuries happen. I just tried to play though that. But it’s better and I am so happy I can move now,” Dolezaj finished.

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