The League

Mackie Shilstone
Sports Performance Manager, MA, MBA

Mackie Shilstone

Executive Director, The Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone at East Jefferson General Hospital

Hack the Ribs, Saints


In Sunday's Eagles-Panthers matchup, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb saw an opening when his receivers were covered and headed toward the goal line. Tucking the ball in and lowering his shoulder, McNabb ran into Panther cornerback, Richard Marshall. Score 6 points for the Eagles and a fractured rib for McNabb.

Rib fractures, such as the initial diagnosis for McNabb, can be caused by a direct blow or a compression injury to the chest, such as a Marshall's helmet in McNabb's ribs. Based on research, the fifth through the nine ribs are the ones most often fractured.

For his sake, let's hope Donovan does not catch a cold and cough because it could cause the expansion of the ribs during the act of coughing can be quite painful. Let's also hope he does not need to do much sprint type running, because that also can cause rapid expansion and contraction of the ribs and further slow the healing process.

In years past when I trained Riddick Bowe to defeat Evander Holyfield in their third match, we made a point of having Bowe pound Evander's ribs to not only create pain, but to limit his breathing capacity. Eventually the ribs cracked and Bowe won the fight.

Here's what happens, if you have painful breathing, like Holyfield experienced, you are forced to take quick short breathes, much like a pregnant woman in the last trimester. Such rapid breathing can cause a buildup of lactic acid which changes the PH levels of the muscles (building up lactic acid). As a result, the ability to punch is compromised thus slowing down your opponent.

If McNabb is placed in a chest immobilizer for next week's game and I were his opponent, his ribs would definitely be my target. I'd want to make him run as much as possible to increase his discomfort and increase the lactic acid buildup. Flush him out of the pocket, make him gasp and, at the end of plays, fall on top of him.

Let's hope for the best -- that the Eagles keep him on the sidelines, because if McNabb plays, his ribs will have bulls eyes on them.

By Mackie Shilstone  |  September 14, 2009; 1:45 AM ET  | Category:  Medical , Philadelphia Eagles , Quarterbacks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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