Monthly Archives: February 2011

Snow Bikes Recalled

snow-mx-skidoo2snow-mx-xgames2Toward the end of January, an Ontario-based company issued a voluntary recall on two of their products.  If you’ve never heard of a snow bike, this may be your first exposure.  For those who are more familiar, this may come as no surprise.  Here is the statement that was delivered:

“Tech 4 Kids is recalling the OUTER EDGE Snow MX – Ski-Doo® and Snow MX – X Games™ snow bike in the United States.

Tech 4 Kids has received reports from consumers and retailers that a number of the units have experienced cracked or broken front skis. The company is aware of three reports of injury associated with the defective front ski and out of an abundance of caution and an unwavering commitment to product quality, consumer satisfaction and safety, Tech 4 Kids has decided to recall the OUTER EDGE Snow MX – Ski-Doo® and Snow MX – X Games™.  Affected products will have either a yellow Ski-Doo® or blue X Games™ emblem on the unit’s steel frame and front ski. The Snow MX has been sold in the US since September at various retailers with a MSRP of $149.99.  Consumers should stop using the SNOW MX immediately and return it to the retailer from which it was purchased for a refund.”

Just looking at the concept of a snow bike, consumers already know that there are risks involved in using one to ski down a mountain.  However, as the recall indicates, if the product is already cracked or broken upon initial use, then it wasn’t safe to begin with.  Among the injuries that resulted from this defective product are cuts and bruises (one cut requiring stitches) and an individual who now braces a dislocated shoulder.

Shoveling with Care

shovelAs odd as it may sound to those in the regions of Southern California or South Florida, shoveling snow in the morning can be an accident waiting to happen.  A self-inflicted and unexpected injury, if you will.   For those who wake up for work, look outside, and see a blanket of snow in their driveways, this concept is nothing new.  In fact, some have hurt their backs, others have twisted ankles, and still more have, believe it or not, become dehydrated.

This doesn’t mean we really need a lesson on how to shovel, but it does suggest we could use some tips on how to shovel more efficiently.  Below are just a few ideas.

(1) Drink a full glass of water before going out to shovel.  The amount of work (that is, when work equals force plus motion) you’ll do in 10-15 minutes may surprise you and a quick drink may prevent dehydration.

(2) Find a partner to shovel alongside of you.  We often imagine that shoveling is either the duty of one person in the home or a chore that alternates between family members.  What we fail to consider sometimes is the notion of working together to achieve the same task.  Imagine how much more quickly the driveway could be cleared if two were working instead of just one.

(3) Use your legs.  You’ve heard not to lift things with your back and the same principles apply to shoveling pounds of snow.

(4) Don’t start shoveling at the top (beginning) or the bottom (end) of the snow patch.  Instead, find a place in the middle and work outward so that the distance you strain yourself isn’t quite as long.

(5) Consider a simple stretch before you go out to shovel.  May sound silly, but for many who take on this chore, exercise is not a part of the regular routine and 15 minutes of unexpected labor may confuse muscles if they haven’t been stretched.

(6) Lastly, keep a back brace nearby and easily accessible so that you can prepare for these kinds of quick chores.

AWC Champion on Edge

Vonn Keeps Fighting for the Title

Vonn Keeps Fighting for the Title

As the Alpine World Championships began in Germany on Monday, last year’s champion was on edge as a result of frightening week.  This past Thursday, Lindsey Vonn fell down on a training run, slid on her back for several yards and ended motionless.  Medical staff rushed to her side and urged her to have a CT scan which turned up clean, but she knows that another injury is always a heartbeat away.

When Vonn played in the Olympics last year, many experts counted her out of contention when she got banged up with a bruised shin.  Yet she practically flew down the Alpine hill, achieving a 1 minute, 44 second time on the clock.  In other words, bruised shin or no bruised shin, she held her own.  Not to mention, that made her the first American woman to earn the gold in an Olympic downhill.

Unfortunately, while the CT Scan does assure her that there is nothing major to worry about, a head injury of even the most minor proportions is more difficult to swallow and overcome than a bruised shin.  Vonn may need to take it easy for a little while, but that’s unlikely for a woman defending her crown.  And as the picture above suggests, her laundry list of career injuries spans from the foot to the head and almost everywhere in between (here she’s wearing a brace over her right hand).

Vonn didn’t come out swinging when asked about her head injury: “I’m trying to find my way, but this concussion is not getting any better and I can’t focus the way I need to.  I need to think about what I’m going to do in the next few days, to try and find a way to compete in the downhill.”  Yes, Lindsey, this one is a little more serious.

Super Injuries No Problem for Pack

Packers Endure to the End Against Steelers, 31-25

Packers Endure to the End Against Steelers, 31-25

Let this be a final comparison between Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre: Rodgers earned a title that Favre never did… Super Bowl MVP.  No, he wasn’t as giddy about their Super win as Favre had been in 1997 when they brought the Lombardi trophy back home, but he didn’t need to be.  The Packers won.  And that’s all the Cheesehead fans asked him to do.  Let the man smile in his own way.

Offensively, there were some uh-oh moments when Jordy Nelson continued to drop passes that would have sealed the win much sooner.  But hey, Nelson closed out the game with more catches and yards than any other receiver in the game.  What was initially most scary to Packers fans was the moment when Donald Driver walked into the locker room in the 2nd quarter and doctors gave him ‘questionable’ status for returning.  That nagging quad injury came back to bite him after 2 catches for 28 yards. 

Defensively, the injuries threatened to dismantle an 11-point lead at the half.  Well known cornerbacks Sam Shields and Charles Woodson walked into the locker room before the end of the first half, leaving fans to wonder whether their hopes of bringing Lombardi home would be dashed beyond the Dallas snow.  Both men suffered shoulder injuries and did not return in the second half.  To an average team, such super injuries would be a nail in their coffin, but Aaron Rodgers, shaking all potential monkeys from his back in a single game, continued to endure.  Perhaps more evident was the strength of a Packers Defense that held off a mounting comeback from Big Ben and the two-time Super Bowl winning offense that did everything they could to fight back.  And let it be said that although the Steelers did not win, replacement center Doug Legursky held his own (amidst our suggestions that he might be a weak spot in the Steelers offense).

With or without the injuries, the Packers did what they had to do and became the champions of Super Bowl XLV, winning 31-25.

Taking Advantage of 75% (Part 2)

Doug Legursky will play in Super Bowl XLV

Doug Legursky will play in Super Bowl XLV

And there it is.  A final decision has been made.  Center and star rookie Maurkice Pouncey will not… let me repeat… will not be playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl XLV as a result of his sprained ankle.  Earlier in the week, when Pouncey said that he was 75% sure that he’d be playing on Sunday, we put out an article saying that the Green Bay Packers had an opportunity to take advantage of that 75% in one of two ways.  The first was to strategize positioning against a less than healthy player.  The second, which is now official, is to take advantage of a weaker and less experienced center.

As of Friday, Coach Mike Tomlin placed his faith in the untested, but still professional alternate center, Doug Legursky.  He will be up against B.J. Raji, who has enjoyed a breakout season as the Packers’ starting nose tackle.  Two weeks ago, Raji (nicknamed ‘the Freezer’) had a 4th Quarter interception against the Bears’ 3rd string quarterback and became the heaviest man in NFL history (at 337 pounds) to score a post-season touchdown.  Not that ‘heaviest man’ is normally a compliment, but Legursky weighs in at 325 against a larger man with a proven record.

What remains to be seen is whether Legursky can balance his need to cover Raji with an even greater responsibility of smoothly snapping the ball to Big Ben without a hitch.  No doubt these things will be impressed upon the 25-year old center when all the lights come down on him in Dallas at 6:30pm Sunday night.

Taking Advantage of 75% (Part 1)

Pouncey Showing Off His Ankle Boot to Deion Sanders

Pouncey Showing Off His Ankle Boot to Deion Sanders

Word is, rookie center Maurkice Pouncey is about 75% sure that he’ll be playing on Sunday when his Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.  And by 75%, we’re pretty confident that means he isn’t exactly 100% healthy.  Pictures indicate that throughout this week and the last, Pouncey has been wandering around Texas with a walking boot and crutches.  Not a good sign for someone who talks of playing in the biggest game of his life.

When asked to say whether he’d be on the field, Pouncey said, “In my mind right now it’s stuck on playing, I am preparing the right way to play the Green Bay Packers.”  But then he continued… “We’ll see how it goes.”  Ah, yes.  The most obvious hesitation in his voice making every commentator (even yours truly) think that Green Bay can now seize a weak spot up the middle.  If Pouncey is out, then Doug Legursky comes in at center.  To be sure, Legursky doesn’t mean a death sentence to Pittsburgh, but he isn’t the star player that Pouncey has turned out to be in his rookie year.  If Pouncey stays in, Green Bay might be able to have a hayday with his ankle and take advantage of his strength being only at 75%.  Either way, there is a problem.

At the end of the day, however, these are the Steelers.  A little ole problem at center won’t close the door on their potential for winning more Super Bowl titles than any other team in NFL history (something they’ve already accomplished and hope to build).  On the contrary, playing through pain and obstacles may just be the thing that puts them up over the top.  Viewers beware, though.  If Big Ben drops a snap, look to see if the center is still standing.

Super Bowl XLV Injury Report

With an exciting Super Bowl matchup this sunday between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers, NFL fans are sure to see their share of old-school, smash-mouth football.  But before the game begins, viewers should know that there are some key injuries on both sides of the ball.  Here they are listed by team in alphabetical order (those with mere bumps and bruises will go unmentioned):

Pittsburgh Steelers:

Will Allen (Defensive Back) – Unlikely to play as a result of a knee injury

Steve McLendon (Defensive Tackle) – Stayed out of the last several games with a shoulder injury, which leaves little likelihood that he would be brought in at this point.

Troy Polamalu (Safety) – Earned a 2010 Defensive Player of the Year award over the weekend and although he suffers from an Achilles injury that’s plagued him for the last couple of games, you can bet he’ll show his face on the field.

Maurkice Pounce (Center) – Not entirely out, but suffers from a high left ankle sprain suffered during the AFC Championship Game.

Chris Scott (Tackle) – Suffered a head injury three weeks ago, but may well play in the big game after having two weeks off.

Aaron Smith (Defensive End) – Unlikely to play after undergoing surgery on a torn triceps muscle.

Green Bay Packers:

Chad Clifton (Tackle) – Suffered a neck injury during the NFC Championship Game, but he’s managed to surprise everyone and will probably show up to play on Sunday.

A.J. Hawk (Linebacker) – Even a knee injury couldn’t keep him out.  He’s probably the most high profile Packer who remains questionable but likely.

Patrick Lee (Cornerback) – Yet another knee injury, but like Hawk, these are men who realize the stakes of sitting or playing in the biggest game of their professional lives.

Erik Walden (Linebacker) – Just stack Walden next to all the others who injured themselves against Chicago and enter the Super Bowl hobbling.  He has an ankle injury of questionable severity.

Frank Zombo (Linebacker) – And yes, stack Zombo next to Walden, but not because he got hurt in the NFC Title Game.  Rather, because his knee injury kept him out of the NFC Title Game and now makes him unlikely to play in the Super Bowl.

The Brace Shop will keep you posted on any changes to this list or updates that impact the play of either team come Super Bowl Sunday.