Team roping and the ghastly danger of de-thumbing

Consider two related items, one of despair, the other of hope. First, despair:

Thumb amputations from team roping,” Moheb S. Moneim, MD, Keikhosrow Firoozbakhsh, PhD, Dominic Gross, MD, Steven D. Young, MD and George Omer, MD, American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2003 Sep-Oct;31(5):728-35. The authors, at the University of New Mexico, report:

Thumb injuries during team roping have elements of both avulsion and crush, resulting in a poor prognosis for replantation success.
PURPOSE: To review 19 cases of thumb amputation from team roping at our institution since 1983.
METHODS: Cases were included in the study only if a microvascular repair of artery and vein was needed for the thumb to survive. Vein grafts were used to span the damaged vessel segment. Of the 19 thumb amputation cases, 15 attempts were made to replant the thumb. In the remaining four cases, patients had bone shortening and primary closure. The force of injury was calculated based on mechanism.
RESULTS: Of the 15 attempts at replantation, only 5 (33%) were successful, despite meticulous technique.

Then, hope:

thumbsaver2The Thumb-SaverTM is an innovative and much needed revolutionary new product that has just been introduced into the team roping industry. Designed to fit under a cotton roping glove, Thumb-SaverTM, helps prevent serious injuries to the thumbs when caught in the dally. The Thumb-SaverTM is a device that the team roping industry has never before seen. It was inspired by John Keene, former President of Five J Products, LLC, after loosing his own thumb in a team roping accident years earlier. John explained, “Not only have I experienced the trauma of loosing a thumb, but over the years, it is a story that I have heard repeated so many times and in all probability can be prevented.

Here’s a crackling (in the audio sense) video interview with John Keene, the man who lost his thumb and gained a product:

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