Inside absolute king Leandro Lo’s shoulder injury

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Leandro, his shoulder immobilized, after being declared the absolute champion.

“Leandro warrior, Leandro warrior!” chanted Leandro Lo’s fans at the most dramatic moment of the 2018 BJJ World Championship this Sunday, when there was the expectation that despite his shoulder injury, he would come back — for the second time — to his battle with Mahamed Aly. But Lo didn’t return, and had to settle for the silver medal in the super-heavy division.

Orthopedist and Graciemag columnist Gustavo Asmar gave us his insight. “The glenohumeral dislocation,” he said, “is one of the injuries I see most in my treatment of athletes. Although Lo’s desire to keep fighting is an act of bravery, it’s not recommended for BJJ fighters.

“Every time the shoulder leaves its normal place, there is the risk of the bone injury worsening with the new dislocation, which makes the prognostic much worse. Besides, other structures, like the glenoid lip, or even a related fracture at the moment of the trauma, can be present and be aggravated with the return. After the traumatic event, the reduction must be applied as quickly as possible, as was the case at the Worlds, with imaging tests being performed soon after to find out the real extent of the injury.

“If the athlete chooses the conservative treatment, they must keep their limb immobilized in a sling for three weeks. But in the case of high performance, the tendency is to resort to surgical treatment to completely fix the shoulder’s instability.”

So please be aware of the risks before taking extreme actions, esteemed reader. Like just about everywhere, “safety first” is a good policy in BJJ tournaments.


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