Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hockey Lacerations: Life in the NHL

As evidenced by Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue jackets last week hockey players are tough and always want to come back and finish the game. Our job as team physicians is to protect the players and make sure there is no additional damage beyond the face laceration. Additional injuries can include eye damage, facial bone fractures, dental injuries and concussions.

With the St. Louis Blues we are fortunate to have excellent consultants to help me rule out any other injuries. We have a dentist (Ron Sherstoff) and oral surgeon (Ken Kram) present at every game. Additionally, we have opthalmologists (Gil Grand) and plastic surgeons (Tom Francel) available some nights in the arena, but always available for follow up exam.

With every facial laceration we do a neurological exam to rule out a concussion and if there is any doubt we will hold the player and do additional testing. 

To finish the story of Zach Werenski he returned for the game in a shield, but he developed significant bruising and swelling. He tweeted his own picture after the game below and then was diagnosed with a blowout fracture of his upper facial bones surrounding his eye.He missed the rest of the playoffs with Columbus

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