Kraschinski will undergo a cutting edge procedure known as intradiscal electrothermy (IDET) treatment in order to improve stability in her back and decrease pain. Dr. Bennett Davis of Tucson will perform the procedure, which consists of a small needle being wound inside the discs in order to heat the disc material, seal it and decrease pain. IDET does not require a large, open surgery, but rather is performed completely through a tiny needle insertion. Following the procedure, Kraschinski is expected to have increased stability and significantly reduced pain.
"This is a positive," head coach Greg Allen said. "Julia is going to have the procedure done and be able to move on with her life and with golf. This is in her best interest."
The degenerated discs are a natural problem which occur in many people, yet usually at an older age, said John Woolf, Director of Medical Services for the UA athletic department. The rigors of playing competitive golf have aggravated Kraschinski's back and caused the pain to begin at a young age.
The New Zealand native has already taken steps to eliminate the pain. In September, Kraschinski received an epideral steroid injection. In November, she received six to 10 anti-inflammatory injections in Germany in efforts to reduce the pain. The next step in the recovery process is the IDET procedure.
Following the treatment, a three month period of recovery and rehabilitation will be required. Kraschinski hopes to resume playing competitively again for the Wildcats in the fall after using the summer for rehabilitation.
"A lot of the success will depend on Julia's dedication to rehabilitation and hard work," Woolf said. "She possesses the drive to succeed. The success of the treatment is dependent on rehabilitation."
As a freshman, Kraschinski competed in all 11 of the Wildcats' tournaments and finished with a stroke average of 74.88. She capped her initial campaign with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships, trailing teammate Jenna Daniels by only three strokes.
In her first competition this year, the sophomore competed in two rounds of the TRW Regional Challenge, but had to withdraw due to back pain. Kraschinski also finished in a tie for 61st place at the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Invitational last month.
"The pain is bearable," she said. "It's the consequences of the pain that concern me. Psychologically, it takes a toll on me by not being able to be with the team and not being able to practice as hard as I'd like."
Arizona begins postseason play later this month when it travels to Tempe, Ariz., for the Pac-10 Conference Championships.
"We are going to miss her experience in the lineup," Allen said. "Doing the things she did last year, it's unfortunate she won't be able to be involved in the postseason. We're blessed with a lot of talent on our team. Obviously, we would like to have Julia there, but she's doing what's best for her future. Everyone has gained tremendous experience this year and I am excited about our postseason line-up being very competitive."
Kraschinski echoed Allen's thoughts.
"Obviously, I get down about missing the postseason," she said. "That is upsetting. But I try to think about next year, when hopefully I won't have to worry about this."
Arizona will seek a medical hardship year for Kraschinski following the completion of the season.