RICE & MICE: Matt Read’s rib cage muscles and Zach Redmond’s femoral artery


Image c/o Lady Neat

Injuries giveth and injuries taketh away. Just as it was announced that Scott Hartnell was nearing a return to the Flyers lineup, it was announced that Matt Read would miss around six weeks with torn rib cage muscles. Read left the February 20 game against Pittsburgh after the first period and did not return.

Now, when players injure their wrist, we can put a brace on it. Shoulder injury? Put the shoulder in a sling. Ankle? Give them some crutches so they can rest the ankle. Rib muscle injury? Well, we can’t exactly tell a player to stop breathing so they can rest their rib muscles.

The muscles in between the ribs, the intercostal muscles, have three principle layers, the external intercostals, the internal intercostals and the innermost intercostals. When we breath, the diaphragm contracts and moves downward to increase the space in the chest cavity and cause air to flow into the lungs. Simultaneously, the intercostal muscles contract to pull the ribs up and out.

A torn muscle is a type of muscle strain. A grade 1 strain is stretching and microtears of the muscle, a grade 2 strain is partial tearing of the muscle and a grade 3 strain is typically a complete rupture of the muscle. Grade 1 strains heal in 2-to-3 weeks, grade 2 strains can take up to eight weeks to heal and Grade 3 strains can take several months to heal.

Tearing or straining the rib muscles usually occurs with sudden twisting motions and can even happen with violent coughing or sneezing.

Torn rib muscles are typically painful. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to cough, it hurts to sneeze, it hurts to sit, stand, bend, roll over in bed, it hurts to reach back behind you to scratch your back; basically it hurts a lot and it hurts all the time.

Treatment is typically RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen may help reduce pain and inflammation.


I couldn’t resist mentioning Zack Redmond’s injury, so indulge me a bit if you will. Only a week after Erik Karrlson’s season ended from a lacerated achilles tendon that sparked conversations about kevlar and cut resistant socks, Jets rookie defenseman, Zach Redmond suffered another horrible laceration. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that kevlar socks might have prevented. Redmond suffered the life threatening injury when he was accidentally stepped on by a teammate during practice. The skate severed his right femoral artery and lacerated the right femoral vein.

The femoral artery is typically the artery that is hit when bullfighters get gored by the bull. The femoral artery is the one that was hit when the late Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins was shot.

If you had the unfortunate experience of witnessing the cut to Richard Zednik’s neck that lacerated his carotid artery, you may have an idea of how much blood is involved when an artery is cut. It is a lot of blood. This is the type of injury where every second is crucial because the person could be dead in minutes.

When an artery of this size is cut, the blood loss causes shock to set in. This type of shock is called hypovolemic shock (literally low volume). Symptoms of this type of shock include, anxiety, cool and clammy skin, confusion, thirst, weakness, pallor (pale skin), rapid breathing and loss of consciousness. The blood pressure drops, body temperature drops and pulse becomes rapid and weak. The immediate treatment is to stop or slow the bleeding by applying pressure to the injury as well as above the injury. The staff that immediately attended to Redmond should be commended for a job well done.

Since the artery was severed, it needed to be repaired and it took almost three hours of surgery to do so.  Unfortunately, this is almost definitely the end to Redmond’s rookie season as it’s not typically advisable to do any intense exercise when a vital artery has just been surgically repaired.

Disclaimer: Information on found in RICE & MICE on flyersfaithful.com is not intended to be medical advice. Any information or materials posted on the web site are intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, medical opinion, diagnosis or treatment. Any information posted on the web site is NOT a substitute for medical attention. See your health-care professional for medical advice and treatment.