On September 27, 2015, Big Ben Roethlisberger went down and accelerated everyone’s heartbeat across Steeler nation after a diving tackle by a St. Louis Rams player sent him out during the third quarter of play. It was concluded that Roethlisberger will be out for only 4-6 weeks as it was just a sprained MCL. Luckily, it wasn’t too serious and with the proper protocols, Big Ben will be up and running ready to start the second half of the season. The injury could have been much worse as injuries to the MCL can lead to other ligaments being sprained/torn like the ACL. A sports injury doctor may find it hard to believe but, with a player as tough as Roethlisberger, I would not be shocked if he comes back within the minimum amount of time. For those who are left in the dark, we will discuss what a MCL tear is, and the proper precautions to take when experiencing an injury like this one.
What is an MCL Tear?
For starters, the medial collateral ligament is a thick band, running down the inner part of the knee, from the thighbone, ending just above the tibia. The function of the MCL is used to prevent the leg from over-extending inward and stabilizes the knee, allowing it to rotate. For football players who move their feet, constantly cutting in and out of players, the MCL is used at all times assuring your knee does not come out of place. The first initial signs to look out for when tearing your MCL are stiffness, swelling, and more importantly, pain. Big Ben went down immediately after being tackled at the ankle which caused his knee to possibly “lock up” on him. It was not specified if he experienced a Grade 1, 2, or 3 tear to the MCL. Some of us may be able to diagnose the difference by looking at the duration he is out for.
Grade 1: When the injury occurs, mild pain and tenderness will occur
Grade 2: When being evaluated by a sports injury doctor, they will notice a looseness in the knee that can be checked with their hand. Major pain and tenderness and possibly swelling of the knee
Grade 3: An ample amount of pain and tenderness occurring in the knee along with swelling. A grade as severe as this one would usually be combined with an ACL tear. X-rays would follow following the diagnosis of a grade 3
Within the next 4-6 weeks Big Ben will have to work harder than he would have at Steelers practice in order to come back as early as possible. The healing process will come in phases with resting, icing, and elevating the knee, followed by wearing a brace to keep the knee stable. Chances of seeing Big Ben wearing a knee brace while playing is likely. This will minimize his mobility and cause him to stay in the pocket which translates to his offensive-line having to be extra careful when any player is rushing him.
Stay tuned and lookout for updates regarding the MCL tear, and notice a cautious play when the Steelers captain is on the field.
If you or anyone has experienced these issues then please schedule a consultation immediately. Our best interest is to get you back to being healthy, the second you walk in the door.