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What’s the deal with all of the oblique injuries?

Apr 12, 2011, 9:15 AM EDT

Evan Longoria Rays

That’s a question we’ve asked around here a lot lately, although we’re doing it more or less rhetorically. Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times really wanted to know, so he asked Stan Conte, the Dodgers head trainer about it.  Conte researched such injuries and discovered that, no, this was not just a matter of us paying closer attention to such injuries: He found that four players had gone on the disabled list with what he calls “core” injuries — which include obliques — at this point a year ago. But 14 have this season. This represents the biggest spike in such injuries in the last 20 years.

Conte’s belief: the shorter time between the start of spring training and the beginning of spring training games this year, plus the earlier start to the regular season, due to the compressed schedule.  This is bolstered by data showing that oblique injuries are typically far more prevalent in the early part of the season and tail off as the year goes on.

Personally, I blame “Jersey Shore” and its message that men need six packs in order to fulfill the, um, Situational ideal. As a result, too much work on strengthening abs that in turn put too much stress on the surrounding muscles. Conte dismisses the notion, saying that working on ab muscles is a good thing. He thinks it’s a matter of not enough stretching and conditioning and not enough reps in the cage to get ready. Too many serious swings too fast.

Considering Conte’s experience and expertise, and considering that I just made up my explanation with no training or research whatsoever in order to shoe-horn in a cultural reference, I’m going to grudgingly admit that Conte may be right.

  1. BC - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    I never remember anything called an oblique injury prior to 2000. Did they just come up with a new term for a pulled muscle in your ribcage? Or is it completely brand new, like some of the new hair replacement techniques?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:45 AM

      As Conte says in the article, they were always called ribcage/abdominal injuries before, but it was basically the same thing.

      • BC - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:17 AM

        “Oblique” does sound more refined and elegant, though.

  2. tmohr - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Should’ve gone for an oblique reference rather than a cultural reference.

  3. Utley's Hair - Apr 12, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    This year’s oblique injuries are the new hip injuries of last year.

  4. Old Gator - Apr 12, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    No one takes direct responsibility for anything anymore. Even their injuries are oblique.

  5. asharak - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    *Sigh*. Here I come with my pun already planned just to find out that I’ve been beaten to the punch.

    I guess I’m going to need to come up with a new angle on this story.

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