Ben Roethlisberger getting injured during the match

The severe sack that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered on his throwing shoulder on Saturday’s wild card game by linebacker Vontaze Burfict of the Cincinnati Bengals was almost a textbook case of how one could suffer from an AC joint separation.

“Big” Ben’s right shoulder took the blunt of the force from all of Burfict’s fury driving Roethlisberger to the ground, and to make matters worse Burfict’s 6’1’’ 248 lb. body rode Ben like he was a sled during the tackle.

Roethlisberger’s shoulder injury that occurred late in the third quarter resulted in the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback being carted off the field to receive medical attention. The good news is that he did not break his collarbone (clavicle) like Tony Romo (quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys) suffered two times this season. However, it appears that Roethlisberger could potentially have suffered a grade 3 or worse shoulder separation.

Ben Roethlisberger did have an MRI on Sunday and he did not know the extent of the shoulder injury if it is an actual AC joint separation or just an AC joint sprain. The Steelers franchise quarterback did share with reporters that his shoulder was really sore and he is taking things day-to-day. He will be meeting with doctors later this week as to the extent of his shoulder injury.

If an AC Joint Separation…how do they determine the grade/severity?

Steven Struhl, an orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist in NYC explains that to accurately determine the grading of an AC joint injury it requires more than just an x-ray. “In order to determine the grade of an AC Joint injury, it is essential that both the normal and the abnormal side be imaged. This involves both the standard “Zanca” view (for vertical movement), as well as an axillary view to determine horizontal movement. Accuracy is significantly improved when the measurements are done through digital analysis of the x-rays. An MRI scan in addition to providing detailed soft tissue imaging of the entire shoulder joint has the advantage of looking at the AC joint three dimensionally. Thereby identifying the amount of movement in the horizontal plane in addition to the vertical plane, an essential aspect of identifying a Grade 4 AC joint separation. Significant posterior positioning of the clavicle significantly affect the prognosis with regard to surgical vs. nonsurgical treatment.”, explains Dr. Struhl.

If Ben Roethlisberger did suffer a grade 3, grade 4, or grade 5 shoulder separation, then most likely he will require AC joint surgery. For professional athletes, weekend warriors, and those who live an active lifestyles, Dr. Struhl’s ground breaking patented AC joint surgical procedure (Double Endobutton Technique for complete AC Joint separation) provides a more effective, reliable, and better results than traditional AC joint surgeries.

We do wish Ben Roethlisberger a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, if he has an AC joint separation or just a sprain, it will impact his throwing effectiveness and make it more challenging for the Steelers to beat the Broncos in their playoff match this weekend.

To learn how Dr. Struhl and his team can help you get back to your active life following a shoulder injury, contact either this office in Manhattan or White Plains to schedule a consultation.

Posted on behalf of Steven Struhl MD