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MR Imaging: For Superstar Athletes and "Weekend Warriors"

Untitled.jpg (16517 bytes)MR imaging (MRI) is available to everyone, from the superstars like Michael Jordan to everyday people who, for instance, run or play tennis a lot. Many sports related injuries are simply mild aggravations of the bones, muscles and joints. But if a part-time athlete or "weekend warrior" has a nagging or chronic pain, he or she should go see their doctor. Sometimes those pains which are seemingly not that severe, don't go away and portend more serious injuries, like cartilage loss in the knee, that will only worsen if not properly diagnosed and treated.

MR has become a great tool for helping athletes avoid surgery altogether, or to determine which form of treatment would be optimal. MR Imaging can assist the orthopedic surgeon's planning for bracing, surgery or rehabilitation.

Prior to the development of these new, powerful musculoskeletal MR techniques, open surgery or less-invasive arthroscopy was required to determine what was damaged. Now, surgeons can determine the damage non-invasively and at essentially no risk to the patient. If surgery is still required, MR images provide orthopedic surgeons an excellent road map to plan the surgical procedure.

Professional Athletes and MR Imaging

There is hardly a time these days when a sports page article on a star athlete's injury does not feature the findings of the MR study. Countless athletes from Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman to Olympic downhill skier Picabo Street have been patched back together by orthopedic surgeons after traumatic injuries. More often than not, diagnostic imaging and MR imaging have been a major part in the diagnosis and treatment of major-league athlete's orthopedic injuries, such as:

  • Roger Clemens' arm / baseball
  • Fred Couples' back and spine / golf
  • Christian Fitipaldi's splintered shin / race car driving
  • Bo Jackson's hip / baseball and football
  • Michael Jordan's shoulder / basketball
  • Jimmy Key's shoulder / football
  • Dan Marino's knees and ankles / football
  • Joe Montana's knees / football
  • Scottie Pippen's ankle / basketball
  • Jose Rijo's elbow / baseball
  • Monica Seles' knee and shoulder / tennis
  • Bruce Smith's knee / football
  • Picabo Street's knee / downhill snow skiing

Updated: November 2, 2007