Randon Hall, MD
NFL Combine - How Will Billy Price Be Impacted By His Pectoralis Muscle Tear?
Billy Price Injury Break Down
Billy Price, Ohio State standout Center, suffered a chest injury while participating in the bench press portion of the NFL Combine. The bench press event consists of maximum reps of a weight of 225 pounds. The NFL Combine record on the bench press was achieved in 2011 by defensive tackle, Stephen Paea, with 49 repetitions. Billy Price's injury occurred after only 3 repetitions. The bench press focuses on several muscles, including the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor and anterior deltoid muscles. Specifically, Price likely tore the the pectoralis major muscle .
What happens with a pectoralis major tear?
The pectoralis major is a broad muscle that includes two major sections. The sternal portion runs from the sternum (breast bone) across to the upper arm, and the clavicular portion runs from the clavicle to the upper arm as well. An injury can occur with excessive stress to the muscle, either causing a tear within the muscle belly, muscle-tendon junction or bony attachment site. The clavicular portion tends to be torn more often at the insertion site into the upper arm (humerus). The diagnosis is usually made on clinical exam with strength testing of the muscle, as well as inspection for asymmetry or deformity. In most cases, an MRI or even ultrasound will be obtained to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the extent of the injury.
Will he need surgery or not?
Without having the results of the MRI or ultrasound, it is difficult to say for sure. I think if he has a small partial tear, they will likely consider non-operative treatment. However, if there is a complete tear or an injury at the muscle-tendon junction or bony attachment site, they will likely opt for surgery. For the most part, it is felt that young athletes have better outcomes and better overall satisfaction with surgical repair.
How long will he be out?
In general, if the tear is in the muscle belly and considered a partial tear, a non-operative approach would be taken. If there is a complete tear of the muscle or an injury at the muscle-tendon junction or bony attachment site, surgery is usually recommended. Keep in mind that the decision also depends on the individual situation. One might take a different approach to the same injury in a 21 year old athlete compared to a 40 year old business man. With either operative or non-operative treatment of a significant tear, the athlete is going to need about 3 to 4 months to return back to resistance training and likely 6 months to return to full contact sports.