Ben Roethlisberger in action against the Kansas City Chiefs
Photo: Getty Images
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a rare and potentially fatal rib injury during Pittsburgh's 16-13 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday.
Roethlisberger was sent to hospital for scans after being sacked by Chiefs defensive linemen Justin Houston and Tamba Hali in the third quarter.
At the time it was feared the quarterback had suffered a shoulder injury severe enough to rule him out of the rest of Pittsburgh's season, putting their playoffs hopes in jeopardy.
However, Roethlisberger revealed on Wednesday that doctors were far more concerned about a dislocated rib that almost punctured his aorta.
The aorta is the largest artery in the human body and extends from the heart down through the abdomen. The rib, which is still partially dislocated, could still puncture the artery and cause massive internal bleeding and near-certain death.
"That's the more scary part because I guess if it goes in the wrong direction it could puncture the aorta," said Roethlisberger, who also has a sprained SC joint in his right shoulder.
"I can move [the arm] around, that’s not the issue. Sometimes when I do move it the rib will kind of pop out of place again, which is pretty painful.
"I just try to keep it as still as I can for the most part."
Given the danger associated with the injury, the Steelers have not placed a timetable on their quarterback's return. Asked if he was out for the season, Roethlisberger said: "I don't think so. I don't know, though. I'm not a medical expert."
Roethlisberger said the injury is so rare that his doctor had not seen a similar case since treating a rugby player in 1998. The quarterback also rated his pain as a "nine on a scale of one-to-10," and said he had only been able to sleep four hours in the past two nights.
Watch the tackle that could have killed Ben Roethlisberger:
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