In the Training Room: Colts’ DT Drake Nevis

Drake Nevis laughs at your hair!

On his weekly radio show this past Halloween, Bill Polian indicated that DT Drake Nevis’ back injury was more specifically to his tailbone (h/t to Brett for passing this info on). This post explains tailbone injuries, their possible causes, and the recovery process. Drake Nevis, DT Date of Injury: October 3, 2011 Nature of Injury: “Back,” clarified on October 31 to be “tailbone” Typical Rehab Process/Duration: Wait for the area to heal itself; ice it, don’t sit directly on it (I got to sit on a big cushion donut for several weeks while mine healed). Eat lots of fiber. Recovery is estimated in 4-8 weeks for less severe damage. Rarely, surgery may be required to remove the tailbone.

The tailbone is located at the very end (bottom) of the vertebral column. Three to five bones comprise the tailbone, and it is held in place by joints and ligaments. As a side note, I find it interesting that there is no set number of bones – it doesn’t seem to follow the typical rules of anatomy. However, the tailbone is believed to be a vestige of days when humans didn’t walk upright, and perhaps had longer tails as they evolved from apes (well, most of us have evolved, at least). So it is possible that the tailbone is still evolving and some of us have more bones there than others. The final end bone is a small one that curves inward, with the two to four above it being more prominent. Most injuries to the tailbone are caused by a direct trauma, such as a fall while in a seated position, or a direct blow to the bone. Other causes include childbirth (highly unlikely in Nevis’ case) and repetitive friction. Even yours truly has suffered a stress fracture to the tailbone after riding a bicycle too much (it was NOT cool to be the center of attention in high school for this reason!). Nevis’ tailbone could have been damaged in a push to the ground in which his butt hit the field squarely. Another likely scenario would be a player’s helmet crashing into his behind in a truly awkward and painful way. Prognosis: Today marks just over 4 weeks since his injury, and Nevis’ prospects for returning to the field are good – he was already a participant in practice as of November 2 (albeit, in a limited capacity). There is a chance that Nevis could experience chronic pain or recurring issues with his tailbone, but hopefully he drinks lots of milk to keep his bones strong!

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