Todd Hundley , Catcher for Los Angeles Dodgers
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.
Stretching exercises that are done daily can help to avoid this type of
injury, but nothing can be done to truly prevent it. The best stretches for
this muscle group are side-bending exercises and side bending with rotation.
These are the exercises most often done by kids by spreading the legs,
spreading the arms like a scarecrow, and turning one way and the other from the
waist. The other is done by bending forward during these exercises.
For a full recovery, athletes usually need about six weeks. Hundley came off
the DL after less than four weeks, missing 24 games, and appears to be
recovering nicely. He may play with some protective taping wrapped around the
ribcage, which serves as more of a mental reminder than an actual
Hundley should be as healthy and able as he was before the injury. But,
there is, as in the case of most sprains, a slightly increased risk of him
reinjuring the ribs at some point this season. Because he throws righthanded,
he will lose some power and accuracy on his throws to second, and he will
probably feel a little bit of pain because the motion of lifting his arm and
then quickly pulling it down taxes the ribcage muscles.