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Baffoe: What’s It Like Having A Groin Injury Like Cutler’s?

Jay Cutler. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Jay Cutler. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Tim Baffoe - clean background Tim Baffoe
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa before earning his de...
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By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) Immediately after the Jay Cutler groin injury, social media was rife with the super-creative jokes it loves to spew out.

This time they tended to lean toward Cutler’s injury being of the female anatomy variety because, you know, comparing injured men to ladies and their ladyparts is witty as hell.

Then came news early this week that Cutler had not been officially ruled out for Monday night’s game versus the Green Bay Packers and may well be ahead of schedule in returning. Compound that with the revelation that Cutler’s wife, Kristen Cavallari, is pregnant with the couple’s second child—see, that means Jay would’ve had to use his groin in a way to make the baby even though the bow-chicka-wah-wah happened before the injury—and like rancid meat to comedically-starving mutts came fuel for more funny. Now, of course, we can expect the typical criticism of Cutler should he actually follow the original timetable or even miss longer time rather than come back early because, hey, we know what he’s feeling how his body is responding, right?

I did some crowdsourcing on social media to get an idea of exactly what Cutler was dealing with. Is he really the wuss some Bears fans so desperately want him to be in order to justify their hatred of his pouty face? Or is it just too easy to criticize a guy who is actually far more tough than most Bears fans?

On to your correspondence. The following are from actual people who have dealt with a groin injury in some capacity.

The first is from a medical professional whom I’ll call “Jim”:

Just to give you a little of my background: I’m a chiropractor currently practicing in a hospital setting in St. Louis. While I was an intern, I was given the opportunity to treat a professional athlete, who suffered a grade II groin sprain. I contacted my school to see what I was allowed to disclose to you regarding the treatment and they basically told me that legally, I’m not allowed to release the name of the patient, nor any details of the treatment publicly. So basically, I was told as long as my name isn’t mentioned, nor the patients, then we’re good. 

Having said that, my patient came into my school’s clinic with a chief complaint of groin pain. He was already evaluated at the hospital and came in with his MRI that revealed a grade II sprain of the adductor magnus muscle, the primary adductor of the lower extremity. Some of his symptoms included a burning, tearing pain along his inner thigh just below his genitalia. Your adductor muscle group are your main stabilizers during lateral movement and are typically seen in soccer and hockey players. His pain was static and there was no position nor motion that made the pain better. This is also typical of groin injuries. The pain was so excruciating, he said it kept him up at night. Every session would start off with an ice pack for 15-20 minutes to minimize bruising and swelling of the affected area. This was followed up by therapeutic ultrasound and interferential to stimulate cellular metabolism and promote healing of the area treated. The treatment ended with a paraffin application to reduce some of the inflammation(Yes, the same paraffin wax women apply to their hands for soft smooth skin) and another ice pack for 15-20 minutes. This treatment lasted for about a week and he was in the clinic 2-3x/day to receive the same treatment. 

 After about a week of daily treatment, multiple times per day, there was a significant reduction in the inflammation and bruising as well as pain. Now, in addition to the previous treatment, I also incorporated some light stretching of the muscle as well as some assisted walking on the treadmill (We have the equivalent of a poor man’s gravity treadmill, where a harness lifts and supports you so that you are not impacting the treadmill with all of your bodyweight). 

 After the second week of treatment the patient was completely asymptomatic, however the groin was still weak and not fully heeled. During the third and fourth week of treatment we gradually increased resistance exercises and treadmill work to strengthen the groin and by the fifth week he was back in action. 

My patient responded positively in four weeks of treatment, however, each case can respond differently and take up to 8 weeks to heal. Several factors play into recovery time, most important being the patients perception of feeling recovered. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. Again, I would appreciate if you didn’t mention my name in whatever you plan to do with this information. If possible, just say you spoke to a chiropractor without actually saying my name. I’d be ok with that. Let me know if this helps.

[Then came a follow-up email.]

I also forgot to mention that he was advised to refrain from being ambulatory as much as possible, and also kept a compression sleeve on his groin when he was not in the clinic being treated. Also to continue to ice his groin every 5-6 hours for 15-20 minutes at a time. 

Sounds like something Cutler could just rub some dirt on, if you ask me. Next, this is from an athletic training student who works with a Big Ten football team:

From my knowledge of “torn groins” it all depends on what we do not know. The medical staff does not release all of the details of an injury to the media. The term, “torn groin” could mean a multitude of things. It could mean a muscle strain, which is categorized as either first, second, or third degree, based on the number of muscle fibers that are torn.

First degree tears only have a few torn fibers, and third degree is a complete tear of the muscle. Without knowing the extent of the tear, it is hard to place a timetable on the return to activity. Obviously, a third degree tear is more serious than a first degree and needs more time for recovery.

The medical staff will also be aware of the type of activity and movements the athlete makes every play. For instance, quarterbacks move laterally every play when dropping back, running backs and receivers plant and cut at high velocities, and kickers swing their legs around like there are no muscles in the first place. In the end, we do not know the extent of the injury outside of what the media is aware of, and HIPAA laws prevent us from knowing any more than that. Obviously, the medical staff is going to be more cautious with high profile athletes and worry about the future as well as daily living. The timetable we hear about for return after an injury is something to plan on for us diehard fans, but if the condition clears up, the athlete demonstrates that they can perform at the same intensity level, and the medical staff clears the athlete for contact and activity, they may be able to return early.

DOSE DOCS MUST BE COVERIN FOR CUTMAN BECAUSE HE’S SUCH A BABY. BUTKUS ONCE TORE A GROIN ON HIS SPINE AND PLAYED. And from reader Paul S. this witnessing:

I personally did not experience this, but I watched my younger brother do it.  We were in high school, visiting Moab, Utah doing some mountain biking. We were novices to say the least and got in over our heads.  

After earlier in the day crashing and destroying a helmet and his glasses, my brother got too high up on some rock and the bike slide from under him.  He planted his inner foot as the bike slid, simultaneously pulling both groin muscles.

These were not torn, but they were pulled badly enough he could barely walk, he couldn’t ride, the quarter mile back to the trailhead.

I have never seen anyone try to limp with both legs before, it was pretty sad and sort of funny.  The gist though is he had merely pulled his groin(s?) and not overly severely, he was mostly fine within a couple of days.  I cannot imagine how painful a torn groin must be, especially if your job requires you to plant and extend over and over again.

The evidence can’t be denied. Jay Cutler is a massive weakling and much deserving of our mockery. Go on with your brilliant sexist jokes, everybody. They’re gold.

Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you’re a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss. Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to tenfootmailbag@gmail.com or tweet them to @TimBaffoe with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.

tim baffoe small Baffoe: What’s It Like Having A Groin Injury Like Cutler’s?

Tim Baffoe

Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @TimBaffoe, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at tenfootmailbag@gmail.com. To read more of Tim’s blogs click