Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jathtrainLink to Publisher's site
J Athl Train. 2000 Apr-Jun; 35(2): 198–203.
PMCID: PMC1323418

An Acute, Traumatic Supraspinatus Lesion in an Intercollegiate Football Player: A Case Report

Keith M. Gorse, MEd, ATC,* Joseph B. Myers, MA, ATC,* Marirose Radelet, PT,* Mary Lynn Scovazzo, MD,*§ and Donald D'Alessandro, MD||



To describe the evaluation, management, and rehabilitation of an acute, supraspinatus tendon injury in an intercollegiate football player.


While attempting to block a defender, a 19-year-old collegiate football player slipped on the artificial turf and landed on his right elbow, causing an injury to his right shoulder. The athlete was initially seen by the head athletic trainer and then referred to the team physician for further evaluation.

Differential Diagnosis:

acromioclavicular joint sprain, brachial plexopathy, subacromial impingement syndrome, supraspinatus lesion.


The athlete was managed surgically with an open acromioplasty and a 3-bone tunnel repair of the supraspinatus tendon. After surgery, the athlete underwent a 4-month rehabilitation protocol in preparation for return to competition.


This case involved a teenage athlete rather than the older individuals who normally sustain rotator cuff lesions. Also, the mechanism was a compressive force on the supraspinatus tendon rather than the tensile force common to rotator cuff lesions.


By presenting this case report, we hope to give sports medicine clinicians a better understanding of rotator cuff injuries and how to successfully manage and rehabilitate supraspinatus lesions.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.5M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Arroyo JS, Hershon SJ, Bigliani LU. Special considerations in the athletic throwing shoulder. Orthop Clin North Am. 1997 Jan;28(1):69–78. [PubMed]
  • Neer CS., 2nd Anterior acromioplasty for the chronic impingement syndrome in the shoulder: a preliminary report. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1972 Jan;54(1):41–50. [PubMed]
  • Neer CS., 2nd Impingement lesions. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1983 Mar;(173):70–77. [PubMed]
  • Jobe FW, Kvitne RS, Giangarra CE. Shoulder pain in the overhand or throwing athlete. The relationship of anterior instability and rotator cuff impingement. Orthop Rev. 1989 Sep;18(9):963–975. [PubMed]
  • Jobe FW, Pink M. Classification and treatment of shoulder dysfunction in the overhead athlete. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993 Aug;18(2):427–432. [PubMed]
  • Glousman RE. Instability versus impingement syndrome in the throwing athlete. Orthop Clin North Am. 1993 Jan;24(1):89–99. [PubMed]
  • Payne LZ, Altchek DW, Craig EV, Warren RF. Arthroscopic treatment of partial rotator cuff tears in young athletes. A preliminary report. Am J Sports Med. 1997 May-Jun;25(3):299–305. [PubMed]
  • Shea KP, Jennings JE. Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair using a transhumeral approach to fixation. Arthroscopy. 1998 Jan-Feb;14(1):118–122. [PubMed]
  • Jobe FW, Moynes DR. Delineation of diagnostic criteria and a rehabilitation program for rotator cuff injuries. Am J Sports Med. 1982 Nov-Dec;10(6):336–339. [PubMed]
  • Sharkey NA, Marder RA. The rotator cuff opposes superior translation of the humeral head. Am J Sports Med. 1995 May-Jun;23(3):270–275. [PubMed]
  • Litchfield R, Hawkins R, Dillman CJ, Atkins J, Hagerman G. Rehabilitation for the overhead athlete. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993 Aug;18(2):433–441. [PubMed]
  • Pappas AM, Zawacki RM, McCarthy CF. Rehabilitation of the pitching shoulder. Am J Sports Med. 1985 Jul-Aug;13(4):223–235. [PubMed]
  • Kamkar A, Irrgang JJ, Whitney SL. Nonoperative management of secondary shoulder impingement syndrome. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993 May;17(5):212–224. [PubMed]
  • Lephart SM, Henry TJ. Functional rehabilitation for the upper and lower extremity. Orthop Clin North Am. 1995 Jul;26(3):579–592. [PubMed]
  • Wilk KE, Arrigo CA, Andrews JR. Current concepts: the stabilizing structures of the glenohumeral joint. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1997 Jun;25(6):364–379. [PubMed]
  • Davies GJ, Dickoff-Hoffman S. Neuromuscular testing and rehabilitation of the shoulder complex. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993 Aug;18(2):449–458. [PubMed]
  • Cavallo RJ, Speer KP. Shoulder instability and impingement in throwing athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Apr;30(4 Suppl):S18–S25. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association