Todd Hundley , Catcher for Los Angeles Dodgers
NAME: Todd Hundley
TEAM: Los Angeles Dodgers
INJURY: Strained intercostal muscle (ribcage)
OTHER ATHLETES AFFECTED
Baseball: Jeff Kent, San Francisco Giants; Hockey: Adam Deadmarsh, Colorado
Avalanche; Football: Thurman Thomas, Buffalo Bills; Billy Joe Tolliver, New
Orleans Saints; Dorsey Levens, Green Bay Packers; Mark McMillian, Washington
Redskins; Oronde Gadsden, Miami Dolphins
Todd Hundley's 11 year career is one now known most for its injuries. In
1996, he set the record for home runs by a catcher, hitting 41 for the New York
Mets. Those 41 also broke Daryl Strawberry's Mets record. In '96, he caught 150
games, the most of any catcher in the majors. He was known as a great defensive
catcher and a switch-hitter with power to all fields; however, since shoulder
surgery at the end of the '97 season, his throwing has been hindered and his
power has declined.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Hundley sprained the intercostal muscle on the right side of his ribcage.
The injury occurred while he was running from second base to third base on
teammate Dave Hansen's broken bat single. When he was about five steps from
third base, he turned his body and looked over his right shoulder to make sure
that the ball was not caught. As he wrenched his body around, he over-stretched
the muscle, forming a small tear, which then contracted fully. Hundley pulled
up lame as he reached third base, and left the game soon after. The next day,
Hundley said, "I feel like I have a knife stuck in me right now."
WHAT IS A STRAINED INTERCOSTAL MUSCLE?
There are 11 intercostal muscles on each side of the rib cage. They connect
one rib to another and work to spread the ribs apart and bring them back
together again, effectively expanding and contracting the chest to aid in
breathing. A stretching or rotating movement can sometimes tear this muscle,
which is what appears to have happened to Hundley. Initially, there may be
constant or severe pain, but after a few days, the pain occurs only on
stretching, coughing, or breathing deeply. Most injuries heal within a few
This type of injury is easily diagnosed using clinical examination. X-rays
are usually done to ensure that there is no fracture of the ribs, and an MRI
can be used to determine that there is no cartilage damage and also to
positively ID the sprain and its exact severity.
Treatment for the injury is simple. Since a strain is a mild muscular
injury, it is treated with rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, and gentle
stretching exercises. Most importantly, the athlete must try to limit the
movement of the torso, because each bend or stretch can further tear or limit
the healing of the ribcage muscles.