Back-breaking injuries at an all-time high for St. Louis Cardinals

Two more Cardinal regulars can be added to the plethora of players with a history of back injuries.
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The euphemism "put the team on his back" may have been taken too literally by too many players on the St. Louis Cardinals.

Kyle Gibson missed his start on Wednesday due to back tightness, Ivan Herrera was recently placed on the Injured List due to back discomfort, and Masyn Winn has been hot and cold all year with back discomfort. These three represent just a portion of the players on the roster who have experienced back pain in the last few years.

Nolan Arenado has consistently faced back discomfort, Nolan Gorman was on and off the Injured List last year with back pain (although, he has been adamant that a change in his popcorn methodology has nipped that pain), Matt Carpenter's career has been altered due to back injuries, Steven Matz went down early this year with back pain, and he has yet to return, and even Paul Goldschmidt was bit by the back bug in 2021.

While back injuries in baseball aren't the most common, they aren't rare by any means. According to a study performed by Christopher Ahman, M.D., team physician for the New York Yankees, and Ronald Lehman, Jr., M.D., Chief of Spine Surgery and Director of the Athlete Center at Och-Spine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, back injuries account for about 12% of all injuries in baseball in a given season. This makes it the 6th-most common injury in baseball.

On the surface, the fact that every injury is back-related is a bit humorous, but questions may have to be asked of the training staff. Adam Olsen is the Head Athletic Trainer for the team. He was promoted to that position in 2015. Prior to being with the major league staff, Olsen served 4 seasons as a rehab coordinator for the Cardinals out of their Spring Training Complex. He has worked under the direction of Dr. James Andrews, and he received his Master's in Physical Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Questions may have to be asked about Olsen's ability to prepare and maintain the health of the players.

Hopefully, these back injuries are just a blip and these players can return to the field and contribute soon. The frequency and similarity of these wounds is interesting, however.