There’s no denying it–Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are the greatest quarterback-coach duo in NFL History. Brady, armed with precision, timing, and experience, willed the New England Patriots to the most unexpected win in Super Bowl history. Facing a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter, Brady and Co. went to work, methodically engineering scoring drives to get back into the game. Granted, Atlanta’s defense, which predominantly played man coverage in the first half, was completely gassed in the fourth quarter. In total, Atlanta’s defense played 99 total snaps, 35 more than the average game. Key secondary members (i.e., Jalen Collins, Ricardo Allen, Keanu Neal, and Robert Alford) all played at least 95 snaps. Brady did not have any issues picking Atlanta’s tired secondary apart as he engineered the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Entering the game, one of the little know story lines was Atlanta’s susceptibility to pass catching running backs. During the season, Atlanta yielded 823 receiving yards against enemy running backs, easily the worst mark in the NFL. Many were expecting Dion Lewis, who scored three touchdowns in the Division Round, to be the focal point of New England’s attack. Instead, James White led the way with eleven catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner. White, a former fifth round pick, is used to playing second fiddle to more talented runners, but shines when called upon. In high school, White backed up, and even rotated at fullback, for current Bengals’ running back, Gio Bernard. At Wisconsin, White saw limited playing time behind Montee Ball before sharing the backfield with Melvin Gordon, the Chargers’ current starting running back. In the NFL, White has been the third option behind LeGarrette Blount and Lewis, but has earned the trust and respect of Belichick and Josh McDaniels.

Brady, who turns 40-years-old in August, is in great shape, physically, and wants to keep playing. That’s bad news for any of New England’s AFC East foes, including the New York Jets. Brady showed that he has the heart of a champion, and more importantly, character that can overcome any difficult situation.

Athletes push the limits of their human body in pursuit of their sport, and that often results in injuries. The nature of the injury and where it is will determine how the injury will be treated.

Some of the most common sports-related injuries are, in no particular order:

  • Sprains and strains,
  • Knee injuries,
  • Tennis elbow (epicondylitis),
  • Groin pull
  • Shin splints

Fractures are also common. Regardless of the injury, an athlete has a key advantage in recovery after an injury due to his or her overall physical condition.

Because their muscles are in top condition, they are able to support the body’s injury much better than someone less fit. Their physical condition also increases their ability to participate and benefit from physical therapy when it is recommended for rehabilitation.
Prevention of these injuries is important, and performing regular warm-ups and stretching before a rigorous workout is excellent prevention.

But sometimes in spite of the best prevention efforts, injuries still occur and require treatment. Here are some of the most common treatments for the injuries discussed above.

Sprains and strains

A sprain is the tearing or wrenching of a ligament. A strain is the tearing or wrenching of a muscle or tendon. A ligament is the tough band of material that attaches bones to each other. Ligaments are the bands that attach muscle to bones. And muscles, of course, are the structures that enable us to have movement and strength.

While sprains and strains are relatively minor injuries, they can be painful. They can most often be treated by using the RICE method. RICE is an acronym which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

  • Rest. Take a break from the workouts and games and give your body a chance to heal.
  • Ice. Helps prevent and reduce any swelling related to the injury. Twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off is a good general guideline for an icing schedule.
  • Compression. Gentle compression can help to control swelling as well. An ACE bandage or elastic sleeve over the injury will keep swelling in check.
  • Elevation. Raise the affected area, preferably above the level of your heart when possible.

Knee injuries

There are a number of knee injuries caused by strenuous physical activity: dislocation, fractures, ligament injuries, tendon tears and meniscus tears. A knee injury will leave an athlete feeling very unsteady on his feet. The first course of treatment would be the RICE Method discussed previously.

If the pain and difficulty with mobility continue, your doctor may recommend immobilizing the affected leg with a brace or cast, and you may even require crutches to assist you with getting around. You may be restricted from bearing any weight on the leg.

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the injury to better protect and support that area.  And of course, anti inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen, aspirin or Tylenol may be recommended for pain.

Tennis elbow

While epicondylitis has the more colorful common name, affiliating it with one of the sport of kings, it is a common injury resulting from activity that puts a great deal of strain on the forearm or wrist.

The pain is felt on the back of elbow where the bony prominence can be felt, and also in the forearm. The tendons that attach the muscles to the elbow become inflamed.

The first line of treatment is icing the injured area, rest and the anti-inflammatory medications mentioned previously. If these do not lead to the desired results, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or an elbow splint to relieve the injured tendon.

Groin Pull

This is actually a tear injury of the adductor muscles that support the groin and hips and run down the inside of the thighs.

Initial treatment should include ice to the inside of the thigh in the affected area, compression to minimize swelling and anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and swelling.

Therapy may be recommended by your doctor to gently strengthen the area as it heals and protect it from further injury. In some cases, ultrasound therapy may be used for additional relief from injury.

Shin Splints

One of the most common injuries in high impact sports and exercise, shin splints is pain that runs down the front of the lower leg. It’s also associated with overpronation (the tendency to run with the ankles moving toward the medial line).

Rest is crucial for shin splints. This is not a condition that improves with a no pain, no gain approach. The RICE method again comes to the rescue, and lower-impact activity is recommended while recovering.

These are some of the more common sports injuries that athletes encounter. While the first line of treatment for these is relatively accessible, it’s important to remind all athletes of the importance of consulting with your sports medical specialist to keep your body as healthy and competitive as possible.

About Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky

Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky, Director of HandSport Surgery Institute, is a seasoned specialist in hand surgery, wrist surgery and microsurgery, sports injuries and arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery of the hand, wrist, elbow and brachial plexus.  With more than 20 years of high-level practice and a comprehensive knowledge of the body’s biomechanical linkages, Dr. Pruzansky is able to diagnose patients using a “kinetic-chain approach” that reveals underlying—and often overlooked—issues coming from other parts of the musculo-skeletal system.

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The 2016-17 NCAA Football has been released and fans have begun circling top match-ups on the schedule. Luckily for fans, the first three weeks in September are chock full of top match-ups between Power 5 Conference foes. Most of the match-ups featured in the first three weeks are not your typical intra-conference match-ups; rather fans can enjoy cross-conference match-ups between some of the best teams in America. In addition, some of America’s most famous venues will host the games.

While Clemson and Alabama are considered the favorites heading into this season, there are numerous teams that could make some noise. Ohio State and Oklahoma are hoping to bounce back after endings to their seasons while Georgia and LSU are led by Heisman Trophy hopefuls. The top upcoming games in September are presented below.

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The 2016-17 NCAA Football has been released and fans have begun circling top match-ups on the schedule. Luckily for fans, the first three weeks in September are chock full of top match-ups between Power 5 Conference foes. Most of the match-ups featured in the first three weeks are not your typical intra-conference match-ups; rather fans can enjoy cross-conference match-ups between some of the best teams in America. In addition, some of America’s most famous venues will host the games.

While Clemson and Alabama are considered the favorites heading into this season, there are numerous teams that could make some noise. Ohio State and Oklahoma are hoping to bounce back after endings to their seasons while Georgia and LSU are led by Heisman Trophy hopefuls. The betting lines for each of these games is fairly close, so fans should check out http://www.ogpaper.com/sports-betting.html to educate themselves on how to bet on games. Game previews for each top game in September is presented below.

9/3/16 LSU Tigers @ Wisconsin Badgers (Lambeau Field)

An SEC-Big 10 match-up between the LSU Tigers and Wisconsin Badgers currently commands the highest get-in ticket price. While both teams are made up of All-Americans, all eyes will be on running back, Leonard Fournette. Fournette, who was the NCAA rushing champion last season, has scored 32 rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons while averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Since this game will be played at the historic Lambeau Field, fans should act soon in order to secure their tickets.

9/17/16 Ohio State Buckeyes @ Oklahoma Sooners (Memorial Stadium) 

The Ohio State Buckeyes will make a rare trip to Norman, Oklahoma for a match-up against the Sooners on Saturday, September 17th. Based on early Vegas lines, the Sooners are 9-point favorites over the Buckeyes. Granted, a total of 12 Buckeyes were selected in the NFL Draft, so this team will miss some of its playmakers in this match-ups. Ohio State will still have quarterback, JT Barrett in fold, but Oklahoma will feature a dynamic offense that features quarterback, Baker Mayfield and running back, Samaje Perine.

9/17/16 Michigan State Spartans @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Notre Dame Stadium)

The rivalry between Michigan State and Notre Dame will be renewed on Saturday, September 17th at Notre Dame Stadium. The rivalry between Michigan State and Notre Dame dates back to 1897–and Notre Dame leads the rivalry 48-28-1. These two teams haven’t played since 2013 when Notre Dame came away with a 17-13 victory. Notre Dame has won three straight games against Michigan State, so the Spartans will look to snap their winning streak.

9/4/16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Texas Longhorns (Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium) 

The Notre Dame-Texas college football rivalry dates back to 1913, but this rivalry has been dominated by the Irish. Notre Dame has nine of 11 match-up against the Longhorns, including a 38-3 victory last season. Given the magnitude of these two programs, this game will be played in primetime on Sunday, September 4th. This will be Notre Dame’s first trip to Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium since 1996 when Notre Dame won a close 27-24 decision.

9/3/16 North Carolina Tarheels @ Georgia Bulldogs (Georgia Dome) 

North Carolina and Georgia will square off in the Chik-Fil-A kick-off game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and will renew an old ACC-SEC rivalry. These two schools have played 30 times with Georgia holding a 16-12-2 advantage. Georgia fans are hoping that their star running back, Nick Chubb, will return for the season opener. Chubb tore his ACL last season after getting off to a blistering fast; Chubb averaged 149 rushing yards per game over his first five games and averaged an absurd 8.1 yards per carry. In 2014, Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.

When it comes to sports, New York has bred a number of world-class competitors over the last few decades. From classic swingers, such as Babe Ruth, to modern day heroes, such as Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson, New York has a long history of sporting greats.

However, away from the baseball fields, football fields and other arenas of competition, in recent years New York has also become something of a breeding ground for another type of champion – poker players.

Thanks to a steady stream of poker icons making a name for themselves on the international circuit, New York has become synonymous with poker success and was even used as the setting for the cult classic Rounders. Starring Matt Damon, Ed Norton and John Malkovich, the 1998 film focuses on Mike McDermott (played by Damon) who is a poker player tasked with using his skills to rebuild his bankroll and take part in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

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The New York Jets won their third straight game, demonstrating the urgency needed to make a serious playoff push. New York dominated Tennessee on both sides of the ball, outgaining the overmatched Titans, 439-292. Ryan Fitzpatrick continued to dominate, tossing more three touchdown passes, while Chris Ivory turned in his first 100-yard performance in nearly two months. While New York’s offense capitalized and made plays, Tennessee’s defensive play was putrid. Defenders resorted to arm tackling ball carriers and the secondary missed countless assignments. Right before halftime, Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall connected for the easiest 69-yard touchdown in NFL history. Tennessee’s secondary forgot to cover Marshall, so Marshall caught a quick screen and ran free for an easy touchdown. This scoring play gave New York a commanding 27-0 lead before halftime and basically ended the game. On the other side of the ball, New York’s defensive line, namely Muhammad Wilkerson, was all over Marcus Mariota; Mariota was sacked five times and looked completely befuddled by New York’s defensive alignments. With Darrelle Revis back in the fold, the secondary locked down Tennesse’s middling pass catchers, giving its talented array of pass rushers to attack Mariota at will. Wilkerson had his first career three-sack game and is just 0.5 sacks away from breaking Shaun Ellis’ career record (12.5 sacks).

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The New York Jets delivered their biggest win under Todd Bowles, rallying from a 10-point, 4th quarter deficit to sneak away with a 23-20 overtime victory. By virtue of their win, the Jets snap a five-game losing streak to the Giants and cement their status as a Wildcard contender in the AFC. The Jets were resilient on both sides on the ball while taking advantage of some questionable decisions made by Tom Coughlin. The Jets’ offense was stagnant for nearly three quarters, but Coughlin’s decision to ‘go-for-it’ on 4th-and-Goal from the Jets’ 2-yard line swung momentum in the Jets’ favor. The Giants were holding a 10-point lead, so it was a very questionable decision by Coughlin. Regardless, Coughlin’s decision gave the Jets an opening—and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall ran through it. Fitzpatrick and Marshall connected for a 9-yard scoring strike with just 27 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. This scoring play knotted the score at 20. In overtime, the Jets pushed the ball downfield, but settled for a field goal by new kicker, Randy Bullock. Giants’ kicker, Josh Brown, missed his game-tying kick in overtime, handing the Jets the victory. Overall, it was a very emotional game and tempers ran high at times, but the duo of Fitzpatrick-Marshall, not Manning-Beckham, proved to be the winning combo.

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With the season seemingly on the line, the New York Jets played their best game in nearly two months. Ryan Fitzpatrick was very efficient, throwing for 277 yards and four touchdowns while Chris Ivory looked explosive for the first time in nearly a month. Fitzpatrick hit the ‘trifecta’ by throwing a touchdown pass to each of his starting wide receivers. While Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall regularly hit pay dirt, Devin Smith scored his first touchdown right before halftime. With just seconds remaining, Smith ran a tight post route and Fitzpatrick delivered a strike for a 16-yard touchdown. This scoring play gave New York a 14-0 halftime lead, but more importantly, Fitzpatrick showed a lot of trust in the rookie by targeting him in a high leverage situation. After weeks of drops and poorly run routes, it was encouraging to see Smith haul in this touchdown pass.

Sans Darrelle Revis, New York’s defense completely dominated Miami’s offense, allowing just one third down conversion in the first three quarters. Miami’s offense lost Rishard Matthews and Mike Pouncey to injuries early in the game, but Ryan Tannehill was once again befuddled by New York’s blitz schemes.

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New York’s defense did not have an answer for Houston’s third string quarterback, TJ Yates. Yates managed the offense fairly well and did not shy away from throwing at Darrelle Revis. Revis locked horns with DeAndre Hopkins for the majority of the game—and Yates-Hopkins won the majority of those battles. During the second quarter, Yates hooked up with Hopkins on a 61-yard touchdown bomb off of play action. Revis bit on Hopkins’ double move and Yates dropped a dime over Revis’ outstretched arm. Revis did not have safety help over the top and paid the price against one of the NFL’s best young wide receivers. Revis left the game during the third quarter with a head injury, so his status is worth monitoring.

New York’s offensive line, sans Nick Mangold, did not have an answer for JJ Watt. Watt lined up all over Houston’s defensive front and dominated one-on-one match-ups, particularly against right tackle, Breno Giacomini. New York refused to double-team Watt, which proved to be a foolish decision.

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New York lost the ‘Rex Bowl’ at Metlife Stadium by committing four turnovers and making numerous mental mistakes that led to their third loss in their last four games. Those mental mistakes started at the very top as Todd Bowles made a few questionable decisions. Down 22-9 midway through the third quarter, Bowles opted to kick the extra point, making the score 22-10, instead of going for the two-point conversion. His biggest gaffe, however, occurred with three minutes remaining in the game. Trailing by five points and armed with three timeouts, Bowles opted to go for it on 4th-and-4 from Buffalo’s 7-yard line. New York failed to convert a first down, deflating the home crowd and a defense that was played inspired football during the second half. Buffalo’s offense was able to kill the clock due to some strong, elusive carries by LeSean McCoy.

For the first time this season, Devin Smith was forced into kick returning duties, but things did not go according to plan. Early in the second quarter, Smith fumbled away a kick off return and Buffalo returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. Smith made the mistake of returning a deep kick-off out of his own end zone and chose to run away from his blocks. Smith’s mistake spun momentum in Buffalo’s favor and proved to be one of the most noteworthy plays from this game.

Tackling has become a major issue for New York’s defense. New York’s tacklers were routinely whiffing on tackles and each member of the defense missed at least one tackle. McCoy exacerbated New York’s tackling deficiency late in the fourth quarter by juking, side stepping, and evading defenders to pick up first downs and kill the clock.

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