Health and fitness

BSJ Injury Mailbag with Dr. Jessica Flynn: Gronk’s thigh, Krug’s jaw and Pedroia’s knee

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(Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

Hi everyone! Thanks for submitting excellent questions for my second BSJ Injury Mailbag! Would love to hear from you for future editions, so make sure you check out the contact information at the bottom of the page.

Lots to get to this week, including Gronk’s surprise thigh injury, recovery from rib fractures in the NFL, Torey Krug’s broken jaw, and performance after Tommy John surgery. Let’s start with a question that will help you get to know me a little bit better and understand why I spend my time talking about high-profile sports injuries…

Do you think it’s irresponsible to talk about a player’s injury w/out having examined him? (Steve DeBoer @WHS_Mr_DeBoer)

This is a very fair question and one I’ve thought a lot about. Believe it or not, I started my blog because I was pissed at Mike Felger. I heard him yammering on the radio about how Jimmy Garoppolo was weak because he didn’t “just take the shot” and return to play. My reason for commenting on sports injuries goes back to that day — I want fans to understand what these athletes are dealing with. They may look superhuman, but they're not. They're people — somebody's kid, somebody's patient — and they are trying to make a living in a few short years. They spent high school and (usually) college playing football with some studying on the side. They are fighting for a dream they've been working towards for years. They won't get another chance. They are part of a team that’s a lot like a family — during a season it's a huge part of their life. Leaving that team with an injury sucks. They don't want to be alone in a hospital having surgery, isolated in the training room getting treatment — they want to be out on a field with their brothers. Some fans are really interested in the physiology of high profile injuries, and often that’s in part due to the fact that they or someone they know has had a similar issue. I use pro athlete injuries and recoveries all of the time in my practice, often to re-assure young patients that their sports careers will not end with whatever injury they happen to be dealing with at the time.

I believe in an athlete's right to privacy. If I comment on an injury or an athlete then that means that I have never examined that athlete and have no inside information on their care. I believe in the sideline medical tent. I hate the darn thing because it gets in the way of me getting more clues to the injury, but it's there for good reason. Injured athletes deserve private examination and treatment. For the same reason, if I personally observe any injury information off of the field, I'm not going to comment on it. All of what I comment on is publicly available info — video replays are the most telling a majority of the time, team injury reports, and media reports.

I am never “diagnosing” the athletes I write or talk about. I’m making an educated guess based on what I see. I’m not very into fantasy sports (but my 8-year-old is, and he peppers me with questions every week). I hope this helps you to understand where I’m coming from.

Do u think Gronk will play in 10 days? What is the treatment for that?
(Shy Sullivan @CheyenneSulli14)