NAME: Scott Brosius
TEAM: New York Yankees
POSITION: Third Base
INJURY: Strained rib cage
OTHER ATHLETES AFFECTED
Baseball: Brian Jordan, Atlanta Braves; Mike Benjamin, Pittsburgh Pirates; Jeff Kent, San Francisco Giants; Jarrod Washburn, Anaheim Angels; Hockey: Steve Heinze, Boston Bruins; Petr Nedved, New York Rangers
HOW IT HAPPENED
Brosius was in his second round of swings during batting practice on April 4 when he felt a pop in his left side. He later described it as feeling like he had been stabbed. He crumpled to the ground and was helped off the field. Later, he walked around the clubhouse in obvious pain.
Brosius was selected by the Oakland Athletics' organization in the 20th round of the 1987 free-agent draft. He was traded to the New York Yankees before the 1998 season. Brosius, 33, batted .247 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 1999 but still managed to win the A.L. Golden Glove at third base. He was slowed down much of the season with an ankle injury. Named MVP of the 1998 World Series, he has a lifetime batting average of .257 with 112 home runs.
WHAT'S INVOLVED IN A STRAINED RIB CAGE?
Hitting a baseball requires twisting of the torso. When a player is not warmed up, he is ripe for this type of injury. Also, since baseball players stand and sit around a great deal between innings and at-bats, muscles can tighten; with one swing, they can injure their rib cage muscles.
It is important for a physician to evaluate the injury and establish a treatment and rehabilitation plan. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, typical indications of a rib cage strain include pain, muscle spasm, muscle weakness, swelling, inflammation, and cramping. In severe strains, the muscle and/or tendon is partially or completely ruptured, often incapacitating the individual. Some muscle function will be lost with a moderate strain, where the muscle/tendon is overstretched and slightly torn. With a mild strain, the muscle/tendon is slightly stretched or pulled.
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation usually will help minimize the damage. Ibuprofen and naproxen are often recommended as anti-inflammatory agents; they will reduce swelling and pain in the area. Aspirin and acetaminophen can also be prescribed as alternatives.
Mild strains require rehabilitation exercises and activity modification during recovery, which can last from two weeks to a month.
The injury can be prevented with proper warm-up and stretching before practice and games, and before each at bat.
The touchy part about rib cage injuries is that a player mostly rests as part of his rehabilitation and can easily suffer setbacks before he's completely healed. Even when he feels 100%, one swing can trigger pain. A rib cage problem can nag for weeks.
Brosius was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 5 and may be out longer than that. Fellow Yankee Derek Jeter suffered a similar injury two years ago and missed about two weeks, although Jeter admitted he continued to feel pain after he returned. But, with proper rest, there should be no long-term after affects.