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Todd Hundley , Catcher for Los Angeles Dodgers


WebMD Feature

NAME: Todd Hundley
TEAM: Los Angeles Dodgers
POSITION: Catcher
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

PLAYER BIO

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 weeks.

DIAGNOSIS

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

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.

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