Thursday, 6 August 2015

Athletes Are Real People Too!

Look Ma, no hand!! Position of wrist looks dreadful btw.
On the Fourth of July this year, not one, but two highly paid NFL footballers blew at least one finger off one of their hands by doing stupid things with fireworks. I've seen what blasts can do to hands and it's not pretty. The loss of a finger is bad enough, but sustaining severe burns to the palm of the hand can be especially debilitating. My understanding of the game is limited (GO JETS), however I know enough to realise that for one of them, as long as they can get his wounds under control, and avoid joint contracture, he should be able to get back on the park to tackle, push and hit. The other was a cornerback and he sometimes has to be able to intercept and catch the ball. He lost two fingers and I wasn't surprised to hear he has decided to "step away from the game" while he recovers. 

One Google hit led to another, and I started to read about other foolish sports injuries to hands that didn't happen during the sport itself. There's a lot out there, but I'll tell you about some of the best I found. 

Kudos to the hand therapist. Nice splint, although not sure re direction of pull.
Lindsey Vonn is a champion skier. She sliced what appears to have been a flexor tendon in her thumb on a champagne bottle after winning a race in the 2009 World Championships. After surgery, she skied the rest of the season. She did break a finger once too, but bizarrely did that skiing.  

Digitally altered image. 
Joel Zumaya was a baseball pitcher who missed several games of baseball because he was so addicted to Guitar Hero that he sustained an acute forearm tenosynovitis that was so bad he couldn't throw. Standard treatment for tenosynovitis is to stop doing the activity that caused the problem. He worked that out, and managed to return to his sport. 

Seems to be able to catch alright
In 2008, another NFL footballer called Brandon Marshall slipped on a discarded McDonalds bag whilst wrestling with a family member. His right arm went through a television screen and he "sustained right forearm lacerations to one artery, one vein, one nerve, two tendons, and three muscles". That's almost a spaghetti wrist. He's done well since, is till playing (GO JETS), but did say that his right hand was numb for the whole of the 2008 season! I'm betting ulnar nerve, but he did well if he avoided damaging the motor branch. 

But the best, and most gruesome injury belongs to an athlete who could play his game even if he had both hands amputated. He actually almost tested that theory out. Diogo jumped up a fence celebrating a goal. Unfortunately, on the way back down, his wedding ring got caught on the fence resulting in a ring avulsion injury. That is, the finger was effectively skinned or as it is also termed, degloved. Photos clearly show exposed bone and tendon. The YouTube clip is worth a look if you like that sort of thing. 

That will do. Acknowledgements go to the athletes that have just proved to us all that they are human, Wikipedia, and various webpages that are entitled "50 Dumbest Sports Injuries of all Time" etc. I'll get back to the boring, real life stuff next time!

Look after those fingers,


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