1 Dell Medical School

2 Dell Medical School -- The University of Texas at Austin


The general population’s understanding of musculoskeletal health is likely influenced by media reports of the ailments of prominent athletes. We identified and assessed 200 Internet media reports of musculoskeletal ailments of prominent athletes. Mechanism, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis were recorded. We then classified those statements as accurate, debatable, or possibly misleading. Forty-five percent of statements were debatable or possibly misleading. Diagnosis, treatment, or prognosis statements, and statements about shoulder and elbow ailments were more likely to be inaccurate compared to statements about mechanism and statements about knee ailments. Coverage of sports ailments in the mainstream media are a common source of misinformation. Ailments of prominent athletes may represent a useful opportunity to teach people about musculoskeletal health.


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