Misdiagnosed Pneumothorax in a High School Football Player

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
Markéta Schüblová PhD, LAT, ATC, CSCS 1 and Barbara Billek-Sawhney PT, EdD, DPT, GCS 1
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  • 1 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
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A 17-year-old high school football player sustained a chest contusion during football practice. He did not seek medical attention from his athletic trainer until the following day when he was referred to a physician. Radiographs were unremarkable, and he was cleared to play. There was no change in the athlete’s status, and he was referred for repeat radiographs. These, too, were unremarkable. Two weeks postinjury, the athlete was hospitalized with pneumothorax, acute respiratory distress, and pneumonia from 3 rib fractures. Relative difficulty in diagnosing this injury resulted in hospitalization with severe, life-threatening complications and may have led to death.

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