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Neeraj Chopra pulls out of Commonwealth Games owing to groin injury; find out what causes it

Ace javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who is a Tokyo Olympics gold medallist and World Athletics Championships silver medallist, has pulled out of the upcoming Commonwealth Games — which begin in Birmingham on Thursday — owing to an injury. He will no longer be able to defend his title at the CWG.

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Taking to Twitter, the 24-year-old released a lengthy statement that read, “Hello everyone, I’m extremely disappointed to inform you all that I will not be able to represent the country at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“I had been feeling uncomfortable after the pull I felt in my groin during my fourth throw at the World Championships. On having it investigated medically yesterday by a group of doctors here in the US, a minor strain was discovered and I have been advised to undergo rehabilitation and give it rest for the next few weeks.”

The athlete added, “I have discussed this with my support team and the IOA, AFI, and SAI’s CAIMS, and we’ve collectively decided that keeping my long-term goals in mind, it would be best for me to skip the CWG in order to avoid risking any further aggravation of the injury.”

Chopra also said that he is “hurt about not being able to defend [his] title and missing out on another opportunity to represent the nation”. “I am especially disappointed about losing out on the opportunity to be Team India’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony, an honour I was looking forward to having in a few days’ time,” he added.

What causes a groin injury?

According to Dr Sunil Dachepalli, senior consultant orthopedic joint replacement and arthroscopic surgeon, Yashoda hospitals Hyderabad, groin injury is caused by an ‘adductor strain’. He lists the commonly-seen groin pain in athletes, which are:

– athletic pubalgia (rectus abdominis)
– adductor muscle strain
– osteitis pubis, hernia
– hip flexor strain
– intra-articular hip abnormalities
– rectal or testicular referred pain
– piriformis syndrome
– lumbar disc pathology
– fracture of the pelvis or the lower extremities

Athletic pubalgia, he says, is defined as an injury to the rectus abdominis insertion onto the pubic symphysis. “The pull of any of the adductor muscles (adductor longus, magnus, and brevis and the gracilis, obturator externus, and pectineus) can cause it. The injury is commonly seen in ice hockey and among soccer players. It comprises 10 per cent of all sports injuries and the actual data is lacking, as players usually play through minor strains,” he tells this outlet.

According to the doctor, the severity of the pain is divided into:

1. Minor (1st degree) — Just a stretch with minimal loss of power and range of motion.
2. 2nd degree — Tissue damage with partial loss of power.
3. 3rd degree — Complete disruption of muscle tendon unit with complete loss of power.

Any old groin injuries or not practising during off season are among the risk factors, the doctor says.

What is the post-injury protocol that should be followed in such cases?

Phase 1: Acute (to improve pain)

* In the first 48 hours after injury, do RICE, which is rest, ice, compression, elevation.
* Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed.
* Massage is needed.
* Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
* Ultrasound
* Submaximal isometric adduction with knees bent, followed by knees straight.
* Non-weight-bearing hip progressive resistance exercises without weight.
* Flexibility program for non-involved muscles.

Phase 2: Subacute (to improve strength gradually)

* Bicycling/swimming
* Sumo squats
* Single-limb stance
* Concentric adduction with weight against gravity
* Standing with involved foot on sliding board moving in frontal plane
* Adduction in standing on cable column or resistance band
* General flexibility program

Phase 3: Sports-specific training (to build and strengthen)

* Phase 2 exercises with increase in load, intensity, speed and volume
* Slide board
* Lunges (in planes)

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