Well, it’s over. The streak, that is. Brett Favre may well play again, but for now, his 297 straight starts over the course of a 20-year NFL career have ended. For sports fans, this is big. Perhaps no bigger than his almost-retirement from football in 2008, 2009, and 2010, but big nonetheless. With no hope of the playoffs, Favre could only watch as his Minnesota Vikings were laid to waste by the New York Giants during a delayed and relocated game in Detroit on Monday night.
Some are asking how a man who endured injury after injury for so many years could have been shut down with what appears to be nothing more than a body slam. Simple. With all that Favre has been through, the one thing he’s never battled is a neck injury. In this case, he has a sprain to the sternoclavicular joint, which not only impacts his ability to throw, but also the feeling in his hands and arms. NFL commentators can wander through a laundry list of recorded injuries since 1992 and they’ll find he’s had damage to almost everything other than the neck: his back, side, elbow, knee, thumb, hamstring, forearm, ankle, hip, groin, chin, calf, shoulder, and yes, the list could keep going.
The sternoclavicular joint is crucial for supporting the shoulder. A minor sprain would just need a small ice pack over three or four days, but a moderate to severe sprain (like getting hit from behind by a 250-pound linebacker named Arthur Moats) demands four to six weeks of healing with the aid of a figure-eight strap. An example of this is the Ossur Figure 8 Clavicle Splint.
During a post-game interview, Favre was asked how this injury compared with others over his 20-year career and he simply said, “It never hurt like this.” Indeed, for those who were hoping they might see him return after a single week out, the chances are good he’s done for the season. After all, with only a few weeks left, the man-of-steel has no reason to risk it.