A Case Series and Literature Review: Isolated Traumatic First Rib Fracture in Athletes

Britt Marcussen, Matthew Negaard, Robert G. Hosey, Milton Kyle Smoot

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective:To present a case series of 14 isolated traumatic first rib fractures sustained in sport and review the literature on clinical presentation, mechanism of injury, diagnosis, and management of sport-related traumatic first rib fractures.Design:We compiled a series of isolated traumatic first rib fractures seen in 2 Division 1-Associated sports medicine clinics. We also performed a literature search for additional publications of isolated traumatic first rib fractures in sport.Setting:Patients in our case series were all evaluated and treated at 2 tertiary care center sports medicine clinics.Patients:Patients were those who sustained isolated traumatic first rib fracture during sport.Interventions:None.Main Outcome Measures:None.Results:None.Conclusions:Traumatic fracture of the first rib in sport is certainly not a common diagnosis, but it is likely more widespread than sports medicine providers realize. Considering the diagnosis of first rib fracture for athletes with shoulder pain after trauma is essential for identifying this injury. Although more study is likely needed to make definitive recommendations on treatment and return to play protocols, the case series and literature review presented suggests that rehabilitation and return to play when the patient is asymptomatic may be appropriate care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-266
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • athlete
  • first rib fracture
  • return to play
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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