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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dwyane Wade and Purple Rain

I hope that Dwyane Wade makes a full and speedy recovery from his shoulder injury. Meanwhile, am I the only one who thought that using a wheelchair and then a stretcher for an arm injury was a bit over the top? I'm no doctor but I recall Jack Youngblood playing in the NFC Championship and then the Super Bowl with a broken leg. I'm guessing that he would not require a wheelchair for a shoulder injury. Scottie Pippen returned to game six of the 1998 NBA Finals despite having not one but two ruptured lumbar disks that ultimately required surgery. I have some personal experience regarding that type of injury and I find it difficult to believe that a dislocated shoulder is more painful or debilitating than the radiculopathy that results from a ruptured disk pressing on a nerve. The first thing that I thought of when Wade was wheeled off the court was the scene from Purple Rain when the police drew a chalk outline on the ground after a suicide attempt; chalk outlines are used to indicate where somebody died, not where somebody was wounded, so that seemed a little overly dramatic (as a VH1 special about the movie pointed out). Being wheeled off of the court for an arm injury also seems to be a bit overly dramatic. I remember when ex-NFL player Chris Spielman talked about how he abhorred when players were helped off of the field only to return to action minutes later. He vowed that if he were ever helped off of the field he would retire--and he did just that after being helped off the field after suffering a serious neck injury.

I don't doubt that Wade's shoulder is seriously injured but there is something to be said for not letting your team or the other team see you looking vulnerable. Isiah Thomas had to have dozens of stitches after taking a Karl Malone elbow to the head but he returned to action in that very game; earlier in his career, he scored a Finals record 25 points in one quarter despite a severely sprained ankle. Just tonight, Jason Kidd shook off a sore back and a cracked rib to post a triple double. I am always reluctant to comment about another person's injury but Wade being wheeled off the court after a shoulder injury just seemed very odd to me. I used to play pickup ball with a guy whose shoulder would periodically come out of its socket. He would propel himself into a wall to push it back into place and then keep playing. Wade's injury may very well be more serious--and I would not expect a multimillion dollar ball player to propel himself shoulder first into a basket stanchion and then keep playing--but a wheelchair? For an arm injury? What's next--a neck brace for a sprained ankle?

posted by David Friedman @ 1:28 AM



At Saturday, February 24, 2007 8:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the point of the wheelchair was to keep the arm 'immobilized,' I assume to prevent further injury.

At Saturday, February 24, 2007 11:29:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I've heard that but I don't completely buy it. How is being rolled around in a wheelchair or a stretcher any better than walking while the arm is held in place by a sling or by the trainer? A wheelchair ride could be more bumpy or unsteady than a slow walk. The whole thing just seemed over the top to me and I have never heard of or seen a dislocated shoulder dealt with in that fashion.

At Tuesday, February 27, 2007 9:29:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

Ive had my shoulder popped out many times during playing and all you can do is put it back in place and keep playing. Its funny because when it happens you cry for help but no one can really help you. Your shoulder just somehow finds a way to get back in place. I never needed a wheelchair. Wade is just a baby. He definitely needs surgery because it will definitely pop out again. You could open a door and it will pop out.

The kid from Wisconsin dislocated his elbow and you could see the dislocation and he didnt need a wheelchair. Grow up Wade.

At Saturday, March 24, 2007 4:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dislocated my shoulder the same day dwayne wade did. It was the worse pain i've ever felt. I did pick myself up and make it to a table to take the weight off my arm. In the ER i sat in a wheelchair for 7 hours before they popped it back in. The wheelchair helps out alot. If your standing, you need to take all the weight off your arm by holding it with you other arm. I also had to hold my arm outward, when they tried to sling me it was excrusiating. Probably because the way my arm was popped out(I smashed it on black ice). It was popped out quite a ways and did not go back in easy. These injuries vary greatly. When your in you teens and 20's the chance of popping back out is like 90%. Probably because thats the age your muscles are the most flexable and your muscles never tighten back up. The chance of repeating a dislocation goes down alot after 30. I'm 40, so my chances are like less than 50%. I find it amusing how people downplay this injury.

At Sunday, March 25, 2007 2:13:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I did not downplay the injury and usually do not even comment about this type of thing but I still say that a wheelchair for a pro athlete who injured his shoulder seems over the top. Rick Telander, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist who played Division I college football and presumably has seen--and experienced--some injuries in his day wrote that he had never seen anyone use a wheelchair for a dislocated shoulder. His theory was that D Wade was experiencing the psychological pain of realizing that he is not invulnerable and that his window of opportunity for winning another title with Shaq had probably slammed shut. I hope D Wade has a speedy, full recovery.

At Sunday, April 22, 2007 11:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have dislocated my shoulder twice. once it was not very painful and popped back into place within the same 5 second period. But the second time it was the worst pain i have ever felt in my life. The shoulder stayed out of place and i couldnt get up off the ground let alone get into a wheelchair. They gave me incredible amounts of Morphine and the pain was still immense. Im tired of everyone knocking D-Wade for this, so unless you know what it feels like to have a painful dislocated shoulder, you shouldnt criticize Wade.

At Monday, April 23, 2007 3:44:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I don't personally know what it is like, but, as I noted, ex-Division I football player Rick Telander made a similar observation to mine. I used to play pickup hoops with a guy whose shoulder would regularly pop out--he would bang into a wall or car door to pop it back in and then he would continue playing. I understand that every case is different but I still think that D Wade's reaction was a little over the top. That said, I give him credit for coming back and trying to play with the injury during the playoffs.


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