Public Release: 

Extremely rare muscle rupture in a professional goalkeeper


The first case report of a professional footballer tearing his teres major -- an extremely rare injury -- is captured in a series of images published in the online journal BMJ Case Reports.

The complete rupture of the teres major, one of seven muscles of the upper limb that connects the long bone in the arm to shoulder blade, is an extremely rare injury that tends to occur in baseball players -- mostly pitchers who throw the baseball.

This case report details how the 33-year-old professional goalkeeper sustained the injury from throwing a football during a football match (see image). Following the injury, he had pain in his right shoulder, but he remained playing until the end of the match with increasing pain and limited movements.

The next day he sought medical attention. A physical examination found swelling and a discoloration of the skin resulting from bleeding in his right shoulder area. An MRI showed a complete rupture of the teres major.

Doctors initiated conservative treatment of 'protection, rest, ice, compression and evaluation' in the first week. This was followed, in the second week, with physiotherapy to help him gain motion and strength, during which he had no pain, good mobility and improved strength. An ultrasound showed stabilisation of the teres major muscle.

He returned to competition level football, with no pain and functional limitation, after 18 days.


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