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Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo’s Fractured Back Dr. John Michels Explains


Speaker 1: Tony Romo getting off the plane early this morning and the Cowboys, they are back home after their 27 to 17 loss. But they are just glad they didn’t lose their starting quarterback once again. Romo went down on the third play from scrimmage there after getting hit from behind. There it is. He immediately reached for his back, but was able to walk off the field on his own. And the good news here that injury is not said to be serious. Backup rookie Dack Prescott played the rest of that game. And Romo had this to say before boarding the team bus to the airport:

Tony Romo: Obviously it was a jolt to the back. It was kind of a perfect storm for a perfect hit, but you know, it came out fine. I told coach afterwards, but that’s one that you don’t want to take or someone’s on top of you when you’re sliding and it crunches you. But the fact that I kind of came out of it this way, it kind of makes me feel like what I’ve been saying, my back is stronger.

Speaker 1: Romo says he could have gone back into that game, but it was the coach’s decision that he stay out and we have former NFL player turned physician Doctor John Michels. He joins us this mid day. Well, the unique perspective on Romo’s injury and Doctor, Romo says he is glad he could take such a hard hit and walk out of it. I wonder is that a reason for, for all of us to feel positive about what he’s going through.

Dr. Michels: He did talk about not having residual symptoms after the game and the important thing to look at as you know, when he initially had the injury, everyone was scared. We saw him go down, grasp his back, he talked about a burning sensation, a crunching feeling in his back. And then some weakness. But he said minutes later that went away. And as a physician who treats back pain on a day to day basis, those symptoms are concerning for a disc bulge pushing on a nerve root. But because he didn’t have those residual symptoms, because after the game he said they didn’t feel like there was any need to do an MRI or further imaging, I think we’re hopeful that this was just a scare and Tony’s going to be healthy for the rest of the season.

Speaker 1: And one of the other things I’m interested in is he’s had two back surgeries in the past. I wonder how many more hits can he take before this is really a serious issue with his back?

Dr. Michels: I think part of the reason he had the success that he had last night of not having this become a serious injury is because of those back surgeries. Tony has had to work on his core strength, on the muscle surrounding his abdominal and low back region so that he can protect his spine. And I think seeing Cliff Avril land on him and him bent over in that accordion style, that can be a devastating injury. But because Tony has worked so hard to recover from his prior back injuries, I think it protected him from this being really serious.

Speaker 1: And I would like to ask about his, his collarbone. He has that reinforced collar bone. It’s stronger now. Or is it stronger and is he more susceptible to injuries there?

Dr. Michels: Because it has been surgically repaired, he actually has hardware in there that’s protecting it and then the bone overgrows that hardware as well. I think he is going to be safe from any serious sequelae from that, unless again, some freak injury where he’s tackled and lands just perfectly on that shoulder, which could cause a re-fracture.

Speaker 1: Okay. Well, Dr. John Michels, you have Cowboys Nation breathing a sigh of relief this mid day.

Dr. Michels: Thank you.

Speaker 1: That looks promising. Dr. John Michels with Interventional Spine and Pain. Thanks so much.

Dr. Michels: Thank you for having me.


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