Ben Roethlisberger’s Shoulder Injury

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger may be out for several weeks with a shoulder injury.

The injury occurred in the third quarter of Monday nights game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Roethlisberger was aggressively sacked by linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, landing directly onto his right shoulder. He underwent two MRI’s which showed an SC (sternoclavicular) sprain.

Coach Mike Tomlin told reporters:

Obviously, his injury puts his participation in the questionable category.

Surgery is not required at this time, but it make take several weeks for Roethlisberger to be able to throw with that arm.

Here is ESPN’s report:

What is an SC sprain ?

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.

Most injuries to the shoulder occur at the distal end, meaning the area around where the humerus (upper arm) plugs into the shoulder joint.



The sternoclavicular joint is at the other end of the collar bone (clavicle). It is where the collar bone meets the breastbone (sternum). The collar bone is attached to the breastbone by a strong fibrous bands called  ligaments.

If the injury is severe, the collar bone can be dislocated, either in front of, or behind the breast bone. This is called an anterior or posterior dislocation, respectively.

The SC joint is one of the least commonly dislocated joints in the body.  Nearly half of all SC dislocations are caused by car accidents. Another 20 percent come from sports injuries. The rest are from falls and other types of accidents.

The primary symptom of an SC sprain is pain at the site. There may also be swelling and bruising at the area of the joint, especially with an anterior dislocation. In the case of a posterior dislocation (the least common injury) the collar bone can be pushed backwards and can damage the underlying tissues, including the lungs, esophagus, trachea and underlying blood vessels.

Mild to moderate sprains are treated with pain medications, rest, a sling to support the arm, and rehabilitation.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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