The most important body part in this year’s Super Bowl…

Posted: January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

This was the headline that I woke up to this morning. With the Super Bowl about a week away, the talk is centered on New England Patriots All-World tight end, Rob Gronkowski and his bum left ankle. Injured in last week’s AFC championship game, Gronkowski’s ankle is and will be the most talked about injury of Super Bowl XLVI.

Adding to the drama, Gronkowski’s dad Gordy ruffled some feathers last week as he revealed to a Buffalo newspaper details of his son’s injury. Bill (I only wear hooded sweatshirts) Belicheck, New England demi-god and Head Coach is classically tight-lipped with all injuries especially during playoff time so this obviously did not go over well in the Patriot locker room. (Can you fine a player’s father???)

The reason why what Gordy Gronkowski’s dad revealed is so important is because of the type of ankle sprain that Rob has. Unlike a classic ankle sprain, Rob suffered a high ankle sprain and is generally much more serious. As sports fans,we hear this term thrown around a lot. We hear how bad it is and how hard it is to heal but what exactly is it? Glad you asked…

Traditionally, a high ankle sprain has a much different mechanism of injury than a classic ankle sprain(technically it’s not really called a classic ankle sprain, but for the purpose of this article it makes it easier to delineate than just ‘ankle sprain’). A high ankle sprain usually occurs when an athletes’ foot, ankle, and lower leg are externally rotated (think toes pointing out).

This is the moment before Gronk’s injury. As you can see, the Raven player is just about to fall onto Gronk’s left ankle as the foot is already externally rotated.

This differs from your classic ankle sprain in which the usual mechanism is “plantar flexion-inversion.” We all know this as “rolling your ankle.”

Furthermore, the tissue that is injured is different. A high ankle sprain are usually an injury of the syndesomosis or interosseous membrane between the tibia and fibula of the lower leg. This is a direct connection between the two bones.

A classic ankle sprain is most commonly an injury to the outside portion of the ankle and generally below the level of a high ankle sprain. The ligament most often damaged is the Anterior TaloFibular Ligament (ATFL).

Again, you are probably still wondering why a high ankle sprain is such a pain to deal with? (Get it, haha) The most common answer you will get from experts in the field is due to the lack of blood supply to the area that is injured in a high ankle sprain. Injuries need a steady blood supply to repair damaged cells and without it, healing time is delayed. In fact, it is generally thought that a high ankle sprain can have a healing time that is almost double that of a classic ankle sprain.

The point of this article is pretty simple. I hope for those of you reading, this is a vehicle allowing  you to sound really smart around your friends come Sunday. I imagine it going a little something like this…

You walk into the room, middle of the first quarter after downing your 17th chicken wing just in time to see Gronk catch another touchdown. As everyone cheers, (or if you are from the tri-state, everyone curses) you casually say aloud, “Wow, nice catch! Good to see Gronk healthy. That interosseous membrane really healed nicely. You know, a high ankle sprain is a tough injury to come back from? Glad to see the Patriots training staff doing a great job!!”

even the cat will be impressed!

Please, if anyone does this let me know! It will make my Super Bowl enjoyable rather than being bitter that the Jets are at home.

Thanks for reading!

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