It’s time for this week’s HSS Injury Report! This week there is a lot of discussion about the players competing for a spot on the USA Basketball team. See below for a break down of some injuries that are getting lots of attention in the media.
To see the last injury report, click here. Check back next week for the next installment of the Injury Report!
Torn Meniscus: Injuries to the meniscus are common, particularly in athletes. There are two menisci in the knee, the medial (inner) and lateral (outer) meniscus. These c-shaped “cushions” of cartilage help protect the articular cartilage, the lining of the bones that allows them to glide smoothly against one another during motion. These structures also act as shock absorbers, distributing load across the knee. Some meniscus injuries can be treated non-surgically with rest, physical therapy, and activity modification. However, in a young and active person, choosing to forgo surgical repair of a torn meniscus is likely to result in persistent instability, swelling, and pain in the knee, as well as setting the stage for progressive wear of the lining articular cartilage. This results in degenerative arthritis which may require corrective surgery, including knee replacement surgery.
Concussion: A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Because an athlete may appear normal, a team physician or coach may not know if an athlete has sustained a concussion. The risk of a second, more serious concussion is greatly increased when someone is still symptomatic from a first concussion. Returning to play following concussion remains controversial. It is vital that players, trainers, and coaches evaluate the return on an individual basis, not based on a rigid timeline, in order to protect the brain from further injury, as well as to reduce the risk of multiple concussions and their cumulative effects.
Spine Fracture: The spinal column consists of a series of vertebrae (made of bone) attached to each other by discs (made of soft collagen) and stabilized by a complex arrangement of ligaments, muscles, and joints. In contrast to the lumbar spine, or the lower back portion of the spine, the cervical spine (neck portion of the spine) houses nerves that comprise the spinal cord. If the spinal column is subject to sufficient trauma, the bony elements of the spinal column can fracture (break). The stability of the spine following the fracture largely depends upon on the severity of the fracture and the integrity of the stabilizing structures. Unstable spines can be associated with an increased risk of the neurologic (nerve) damage. An unstable cervical spine can be associated with an increased risk of the spinal cord damage and can lead to weakness and dysfunction of the arms and legs.