Dominik Hasek, Goalie for the Buffalo Sabres
NAME: Dominik Hasek
TEAM: Buffalo Sabres (Hockey)
INJURY: Torn Groin Muscle
HOW IT HAPPENED
Hasek injured his groin in late November while attempting to stop a slap
shot in a game against the Florida Panthers. He weakly kicked out his right
leg, but the puck ricocheted off of his skate, then off the post, and into the
net. He fell forward onto the ice, where he lay for several minutes. He later
said that he heard a popping noise and felt a burning pain.
Dominik "The Dominator" Hasek is considered by some to be the best
goalie ever. He has won the Vezina Trophy five times for being the league's top
goalie and has been awarded the Hart Trophy, as the league MVP, in back-to-back
years. He is the NHL's highest paid goaltender and anchored the Sabres in their
run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999. He also led the underdog Czech Republic
team to a gold medal in the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. Hasek is 34
years old and announced before the season began that this one would be his
WHAT IS A TORN GROIN?
A torn groin is a tearing of the abductor muscles of the groin. The groin
muscle is on the inner thigh and stretches along the thigh bone. The muscle
tears as a result of abducting the leg (an outward motion like doing a split).
A muscle tear is another term for a muscle pull. A common pull is a 15-20% tear
of the muscle. Hasek has a 90% tear of the muscle. Goalies rely on the groin
muscle every time they do "the splits" or kick out the leg to make a
save. As a result, they keep the muscles very strong and flexible.
The tear is commonly diagnosed through clinical observation. Patients
describe a burning pain in and around the muscle during abduction, weakness in
the groin area, and the inability to abduct the muscle at all. An MRI is then
used to determine the specific damage.
The treatment for a torn groin is simple: rest and restricted activity.
During this time, the patient is on crutches and has a long and painful
recovery. As symptoms subside, the patient can begin general stretching
exercises, and as the muscle heals, he can increase the stretching. When
flexibility and strength reach normal levels, he can begin training.
There is no way to prevent a muscle tear. Players can try to avoid the
injury by warming up the muscles and stretching, but there is no way to fully
prevent the tear. Pulls and tears are even more common with hockey players
because they play on ice. Because it is slippery, they can more easily
over-stretch the muscles, and because of the cold, they sometimes cannot keep
their muscles warm. Goalies are at high risk because they repeatedly do splits
and test the limits of the muscles' flexibility in quick bursts. They also go
through parts of games where they do not face action; as a result, they tighten
up and the muscles cool off.