It seems like some athletes can’t catch a break. Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo was admitted to the hospital Friday after suffering a compression fracture in his lower back. Romo is no stranger to this kind of injury – he suffered a transverse process fracture last season that kept him off of his feet for some time, as well as a broken clavicle. Injuries are inevitable in any sport, especially a high-impact one like football, but how will a second spine fracture impact the star player’s chances of getting back in the game this season?
First, what is a compression fracture?
A compression fracture occurs when one or more bones in the spine weaken and break or crumble. This weakening of the bone is usually caused by osteoporosis – a common condition that develops with age – but can occur due to trauma. Any kind of heavy lifting, fall or impact to the bone can cause it to crack, resulting in back pain, inflammation of the surrounding tissue and changes in posture. Most fractures can be successfully treated with rest, physical therapy and pain medication. If the fracture is more severe, then surgery may be considered.
While the impact that caused his injury looked quite severe on TV, Romo’s condition is said to be fairly good and he won’t require surgery. This latest injury is also completely independent from Romo’s previous back injury – meaning his transverse process fracture didn’t cause his compression fracture. The bad news? He may still be out for six to 10 weeks to let his spine heal properly and prevent further injury. According to sources, Romo’s best-case scenario would be returning to the field by mid-season.
Sports injuries are an everyday worry for athletes, but these injuries can easily occur in non-athletes due to twisting or bending improperly, or from something as common as a trip or a fall. By practicing proper bending, twisting and lifting techniques, you can help keep your back limber, strong and safe from injuries. Though you may not be a star athlete, your spine is the supporting structure for your entire body – so treat it like the star it is.