Pedrosa Uncertain About Collarbone Surgery, Doubtful For Barcelona

The crash which saw Marco Simoncelli collide with Dani Pedrosa, earning Simoncelli a ride-through penalty and Pedrosa a fractured collarbone, has added another chapter to Pedrosa's long litany of injuries. Pedrosa fractured his right collarbone in the crash, just seven months after he broke his left collarbone in a crash at Motegi, and a month after surgery to remove the plate inserted after Motegi.

The aftermath of that Motegi crash is having an impact on the treatment of Pedrosa's broken collarbone at Le Mans. When Pedrosa returned to racing after Motegi, he suffered symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, including numbness and a lack of strength in his left arm while racing. Fortunately for the Spaniard, after extensive examination, it was found that the problem was being caused not by nerve damage - which could have been career-ending - but by the plate somehow constricting the blood flow to his left arm caused by the particular position of his arm when racing a motorcycle. After Jerez, Pedrosa had the plate removed, and those symptoms disappeared, though the surgery to remove the plate left Pedrosa with muscle cramp and post-operative pain.

Pedrosa now also faces a decision on surgery to repair his right collarbone. Fortunately for the Spaniard, the break is a clean one, and the prognosis is good for Pedrosa. However, even in the most optimistic scenario, Pedrosa's shoulder would require immobilization for 2-3 weeks for the bone to start to heal. Racing a MotoGP machine at the Catalunya Grand Prix in under 3 weeks' time is probably rather optimistic, and with the Silverstone race just a week later, the choice would appear to be between being fit and skipping two races. 

Alternatively, Pedrosa could have the collarbone plated, which would allow him to return to racing more quickly. However, given his experiences with the plate on his left collarbone, he is almost certainly reluctant to have a plate fitted unless absolutely necessary. At Estoril, Pedrosa admitted that he had feared that the problems he had suffered as a result of the plate would prove career-ending, and that he would never be able to race again. That had placed an enormous emotional strain on the Spaniard, he admitted. As a consequence, Pedrosa's reluctance to opt for surgery is understandable. A decision on the best course of optino will be made later this week.

Pedrosa has a very long history of injury, which is nicely summed up in the graphic on the website of the Spanish sports daily Marca. Though the text is in Spanish, just looking at the list of dates and the location of the arrows tells you a good deal about Pedrosa's injury history.

Below is the press release On Pedrosa's situation from the Repsol Honda team:

Dani Pedrosa to decide next steps in coming days

Immediately following yesterday's race, Dani Pedrosa returned to Barcelona with the X-ray scans from the Le Mans circuit medical centre. He visited his doctors at Teknon Medical Centre and further medical tests confirmed a clean break of the right collarbone.

Pedrosa spent the night in the hospital, immobilised with a compressive dressing, and will decide in the next few days if he will undergo surgery to repair the fracture with a new plate or let the bone heal itself without intervention. In either case, his presence in the Grand Prix of Catalunya, to be held on June 5th, is uncertain.

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Dani is one of the best riders in the world, he's on a two-year contract and should take his time coming back.

Tough little guy.

Dani, Only the last two years have i like you as a rider, as iam a big Stoner fan.
But take the time out heal well, both side of your body. then come back and blow JLO away!!
Motogp is better of with a well Dani than a sore and sorry one! who retires and looks back on the chances that could have been if you only had of taken time to relax and be healed.

Than the dual fracture last year in his left clacvicle?

I think he's doing to right thing to give his head a couple of days of reflection to make the decision to try and race or not. I suspect he will be plated and at Barcelona. He cannot afford to see Stoner rack up another hefty points haul on top of the 25 he just lost to Casey again through no fault of his own. Title chances do not present themselves often and 2011 is still on for Dani if he can ride a safe race and pull some reasonable points.

Agreed. This is up to date his best chance and if he can rack reasonable points from Catalunya + Silverstone (6th/7th is 18-20 points, IMO a reasonable goal), he is still within fighting distance. What I've seen from all riders, and considering Dani's shoulder issues so far, his race pace is superior to everyone else and I can see winning most races in the 2nd half of the season if he's completely healed.


In all this mass hysteria around the continued injuries on Dani Pedrosa I have heard no mention at all about the Alpinestars Tech-Air system being used by Dani. Is he not using the system for a specified reason? One of the key features of the suit is the protection to the collar bone areas. Maybe he should try Dainese's D-Air? Maybe you could do a little digging...

I do not know whether Pedrosa was using the system or not, however, a few comments on this. First of all, riders are allowed to choose whether to use the system or not, it is entirely at their own discretion. As I understand it, it is slightly bulkier, and can cause some discomfort if you already have an injury. This is just speculation on my part, but given that Pedrosa still had some shoulder pain from the surgery to remove the plate in his collarbone, it would not surprise me to learn that he decided not to use the system. I believe that he was wearing slightly loosened leathers at Estoril, to give him some space around the shoulder.

This was touched on in another thread, but it was clearly buried due to everyone talking about something else.

The clavicle bone is extremely fragile in any sort of side hit. It just doesnt hold up well to an impact on the side of your arm. Its even worse if your arm is tucked in.

Watch this video of Tony Romo taking a hit from Michael Boley. Cut to about 25 seconds in.

That is NOT a hard hit by any means. Its not bone jarring, its not huge, its not even cheap. It wont make any future "best of" lists either. Its actually pretty standard. Yet, Romo was still out for the rest of the season. This particular incident also lead to me getting kicked out of the bar I was in for mocking the Cowboys fans after said hit. And I wasnt in Texas either. Ridiculous, but thats another story.

The reality is that there is no good way to protect the clavicle bone from impacts. The best way to protect it is to learn how to fall. Yes, you can pad it, and learn how to fall on the top of the shoulder pad, but its still a chance you dont want to take. I do not think that the airbag system was going to prevent this injury. Look here for a good picture of the clavicle and what it attaches to:
And here to see how it is broken in comparison to the rest of the body:
In a body that contains 206 bones, the clavicle is responsible for about 4%-10% of all breaks and fractures in the human body.

That's one of the most common (50%) injuries over motorcycle riders, this is exactly why their airbag suits have been specifically and explicitly designed to protect the shoulders, particularly the clavicle bone.

Thanks for giving your insight David and DK. I know from reading over the years that this is one of the most common and more feared injuries as it has ended many careers in motorcycle racing.

I've kept a pretty close eye on Dainese and Alpinestars with regard to their safety programs. Remember Lorenzo's airbag didn't deflate one year (maybe last year). I know they are continually trying to improve the system. I wonder how many riders don't think the product is ready (not wanting to be the guinea pigs).

I hope Pedrosa heals quickly or takes the time he needs to recover. I wasn't a fan of him (especially after 2006) but I have slowly turned to a fan as he has definitely proven he is capable of being a champion. Just hope he isn't pressured into returning too soon and risking further injury, yes points are valuable come end of the season, but his fitness is #1.

So ive been digging around some more and Ive found many places that list the amount of force needed to break a human clavicle is about 6-7 lbf/in^2 or pound force per square inch.

I also found that it takes 150 MPa(Megapascal) to break a human shin.

I converted both of them to Newton meter squared force and came up with this:

150 MPa = 150,000,000 N/m^2 for a shin break
7 lbf/in^2 = 48,263 N/m^2 for a clavicle.

Generally speaking, an average human can generate about 1000 psi bare-knuckled. UFC fighter Chuck Liddell pounds people with a force of 2400 psi and this was measured. Heavy weight boxers hit with about 600 psi due to the boxing glove dissipating the force of the punch.

1000 psi = 6,894,757 N/m^2

So you can see that it is very easy to break the human clavicle. If you ever watch wrestlers training, the first thing they teach them is how to "bump" which is a fancy word for how to fall. When they bump, they have their arms out, palms down and try to use as much of their body as they can to absorb the impact. The way bones get broken is by having maximum force applied to a very small area. Pedro is generating X amount of force at Y speed when he crashes. His force is based on weight and speed at this point. The break occurred because all that force was applied to a very small area and broke his shoulder.

Ok so my point to all the rambling is really that AStar, Dainese and football pad companies all have this information of how much force is needed to break said bone on average. So they have to develop a way to dissipate that force, which can be in the hundreds of millions, possibly heading to the billions in N/m^2, from those very small areas. And that is easier said than done. Especially since racers and quarterbacks need the ability to move their shoulders freely.

These are all average rudimentary measurements. Obviously a Pedro is going to be different than say the 6 ft 3in Leon Camier...

Very interesting indeed, thanks for digging that up. Of course, you realize that all you've done is prove that this is immensely more complicated than we realized, don't you ;-)

I took 2 things away from this. 1 is that if a human can punch at 1000psi and it takes 6-7psi to break a clavicle, then you are going to need something special to protect them in the future.

And 2, if for some reason you ever get jumped from behind or find yourself in a fight... Go for the clavicle...

This is probably the quandary Dani faces right now. Their exists another aspect to competitive sport at an extreme level,however. Few venture down that road.
They are only scratching the surface of psycho rather than physiological issues.
Dani is shaping up as 'eternal bridesmaid' in the premier class.
No matter which way they cut and paste it, within the current Premier GP era, Stoner and Lorenzo have the World Champion monkey off their backs and it shows.
In terms of 2011 Championship thinking,I go with what Nostradamus posted.
In terms of Dani's aspirations, I go with what Casey did in 2009.
Stoner,as champion,had that inner belief within himself to do what was necessary for himself at that point in time and then test his mettle. Admirably accomplished 2nd in Estoril 2009.
Dani is only a week or so older than Casey.
I'm fully for him sorting a bunch of physio/psycho issues out before he remounts. Time out and let the whole body heal naturally,analyse and re-focus.
Lets face it,the nature of the game itself does not guarantee any particular player will be 'IT' for the title post Catalunya.
However, Catalunya has remarkable 'karma'. How many titles have been won by the rider who led the title chase after the Catalunya round ? Plenty. Eerily plenty.

I always found it interesting how professional riders always refer to [parts of] their own bodies in the third person. They'll say "the clavicle is broken" rather than "my clavicle is broken". They see their bodies as just another part of the machine.
To quote the great Dr Claudio Costa: It is incredible what a rider filled with irrational desire can achieve