Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/09/12 at 02:55 AM ET
from Stephania Bell of ESPN,
So why is this injury, which sounds at once benign (soft tissue) and sinister (neck), so difficult to grasp? And why, if it isn’t particularly serious, is it proving to be such a hurdle for Crosby to overcome? The answers are simultaneously straightforward and complex.
Some athletic injuries are just easy to comprehend. Take, for instance, the hamstring strain. This is a classic example of a soft-tissue injury (a term typically used to refer to injury of a muscle, tendon or ligament). Hamstring strains can be mild or severe. At best, an athlete might describe nothing more than “tightness” or “pulling,” and would recover in a matter of days. In more serious cases, the athlete might feel a “pop” or experience a “tearing” sensation while collapsing in obvious pain. If the athlete was unable to return to play for multiple weeks—even months—after such an injury, it might be frustrating but most would understand. And it would not surprise anyone if the biggest concern was whether returning too soon could lead to reinjury.
But when the injury feels less familiar (as is the case with Crosby’s) and the soft-tissue injury is located in that no-man’s land of the neck (where there are very important things like the spinal cord, discs, nerves and vertebrae), it somehow casts a shadow of a far more serious condition.
The reality is that there are very reasonable comparisons between soft-tissue injuries in any part of the body. Just as a hamstring injury is a soft tissue injury of the thigh, an injury to the muscles, tendons or ligaments of the cervical spine is a soft tissue injury of the neck. Soft tissue, when damaged, bleeds to varying degrees, resulting in pain and inflammation in the injured area, whether it’s the thigh or the neck.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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