Today show TV host Matt Lauer underwent surgery to repair a separated shoulder. He received this injury by flipping over the handlebars of his bicycle when he was startled by a deer. Fortunately, he was wearing a bicycle helmet- or this blog article would more likely be talking about head injuries.
The shoulder is a complex of four separate joints (see diagram), together called the shoulder girdle, which gives it its amazing ability to move in so many directions. However, this freedom of movement also makes it more prone to injury. Shoulder separation occurs when the fibrous tissue (ligaments) that hold the collarbone (clavicle) to the shoulder blade (scapula) are torn, most commonly by a direct hit to the shoulder or by falling on an outstretched arm . Small tears are usually treated conservatively with immobilization and pain relief. As Mr. Lauer underwent surgery, one has to assume that one or more of the ligaments were completely torn.