Could Modern Medicine Have Saved Bo Jackson’s Career?

Sports and Society Administrator October 17, 2013 0
Could Modern Medicine Have Saved Bo Jackson’s Career?

By JESSE FREDEEN | October 15, 2013

“I was too young to remember watching him play, but the unifying tone of wonderment emanating from anyone who saw Bo Jackson crack a 500-foot home run or bulldoze an obnoxious Brian Bosworth into traction has never washed with the plainness of the injury that ended his career. It doesn’t make sense. The impossible Bo Jackson just fell down and couldn’t play football anymore. How does that happen? And could today’s medicine have done anything differently?

The first thing to understand is that a lot of things went into Bo’s injury. The hip dislocation itself is what happened on the field, but it isn’t what forced Jackson into retirement. That would be a bone disease called avascular necrosis (AVN), which happens when blood supply to the bone is disrupted, as it was with Jackson. From there, the ball of his hip literally died and needed to be replaced. If he were playing today, maybe that doesn’t happen, maybe imaging technology spots the complications before they get that far—or maybe it doesn’t. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though. Let’s start with how the hip actually works.”

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