Steven Tyler and Injuries of the Aging Rock Star

Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, 61, was airlifted to a hospital in South Dakota after falling off the stage during a concert at the famed Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Tyler was dancing around the stage while singing “Love in an Elevator” when he stepped back and fell off the stage into the crowd. The AP reports that Tyler suffered minor head and neck injuries as well as a shoulder injury and was taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital for evaluation. Further details on his current condition are unavailable.

This is not the first injury for Aerosmith this year- Tyler had injured his knee June 28 during a concert in Uncas Connecticut. Band member/guitarist Joe Perry was out for emergency surgery to take care of an infection in his knee on which he had knee replacement surgery in 2008. That replacement had resulted from an injury from a stage fall 23 years earlier.
Although many “rock stars” are aging, their popularity is apparently not waning at all, leading to many being back on the road to tour. Examples include, Bruce Springstein, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Billy Joel, and of course, the Rolling Stones to name a few. Madonna recently injured her ankle during a concert in Paris, and Rockstar Supernova’s Jason Newsted had to be temporarily replaced because of a shoulder injury.
As our rock star population continues to age, it will not be surprising to have many more injuries to report. This is because aging causes:

  • Loss of bone mass and density, leading to osteoporosis– making bones weaker and more likely to fracture
  • The joints become stiffer and less flexible. Fluid in the joints may decrease, and the cartilage may begin to rub together and erode the joint.
  • Breakdown of the joint structures causes inflammation, pain, stiffness, and deformity, known as osteoarthritis
  • Lean body mass decreases, causing muscle atrophy, decreasing strength and endurance
  • Changes in muscle, along with normal aging of the nervous system, causes a loss of muscle tone
  • Decreased balance, instability, and gait disturbances
  • Decreased visual acuity, hearing and sense of touch

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Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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