As sponsors for CalAthletics, we understand the endurance required to be a student-athlete. Injuries are a part of the game, but they can also affect an athlete’s season and career when they happen. Fortunately, radiology can be used to diagnose these injuries while effectively treating them for faster recoveries and less time off for athletes. Here are a few common injuries that may require a CalBear athlete to undergo an imaging test.
An offensive lineman gets a concussion while protecting his quarterback.
Neuropsychological tests are usually the first step when diagnosing the severity of a concussion, and diagnostic imaging is the next step. CT scans and MRI scans are often used to ensure there is no internal bleeding or bruising in the brain. If symptoms of the concussion continue after 9 days, these scans are often used to ensure that there isn’t a serious injury to the athlete’s brain. In general, athletes suffer from roughly 300,000 concussions every year and football players are most susceptible to these injuries because of the hands-on nature of the sport.
When leaping for a rebound, a basketball player breaks a finger.
While jammed fingers are pretty much a part of everyday life for basketball players, broken fingers take time to heal once diagnosed. X-rays are the best imaging test for looking at what type of fracture has been inflicted and how to best treat it. Depending on where the x-ray images show the break is, this will determine if a splint is effective for healing the basketball player’s finger.
A volleyball player’s knee pain becomes unbearable, but what’s wrong with it?
Knee injuries are common for both athletes and non-athletes. Without the help of radiology to diagnose the underlying issue, athletes can often suffer from annoying knee pain that can become chronic. For this volleyball player’s knee pain, a CT scan would be the imaging test of choice for potential fractures or ligament issues. Knee pain originating in the cartilage, menisci, and ligaments can be better diagnosed with an MRI scan. If this athlete is experiencing acute knee pain, ultrasound is most effective for the assessment of extensor mechanism, joint effusion, and popliteal cysts.
The team’s pitcher injures his throwing shoulder during a big game.
When it comes to shoulder injuries, numerous imaging tests can be useful. For this pitcher’s shoulder joint pain, an MRI arthrogram would likely be our scan of choice. MRI arthrograms are commonly used for joint injuries involving hips, shoulders, wrists, elbows or knees. This imaging test pairs MRI technology with contrast fluid to gather helpful information about the joint and determine how to best treat the pitcher’s injury.
While sprinting down the field, a soccer player injures his ankle.
The imaging test used in this scenario will depend on whether or not the ankle is sprained or fractured. A CT scan is commonly used for foot and ankle injuries because of the technology’s ability to create detailed cross-sectional images of the bony structures to find ankle fractures. If an ankle sprain is the main concern for an athlete, MRI and ultrasound are better for diagnosing the ankle’s ligaments and determining the severity of the athlete’s injury.
Injuries can be concerning for both CalBear athletes and fans, but radiology technology can provide guidance for a successful recovery. CT scans, x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRI’s are all important tools in diagnosing each athlete’s specific injuries and determining the best course of treatment. We are thrilled to support such a talented group of Cal athletes! Go Bears!