Tom Brady Suffers Knee Sprain: Minor Football Injury Stresses Fans


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Tom Brady suffered a mild knee sprain during practice. Photo by Jeffrey Beall

Tom Brady suffered a mild knee sprain during practice. Photo by Jeffrey Beall

Will Tom Brady’s sprained knee keep him sidelined?

The New England Patriots’ star quarterback, Tom Brady walked off the football field after grabbing his left knee when he was knocked down on Wednesday, August 14, 2013, during practice.

According to the NY Daily News, Brady had an MRI which turned out to be negative, meaning no damage was found. They were told that he does have a knee sprain, but doctors don’t consider it to be serious.

So will the star quarterback be able to play in the exhibition game on Friday against the Buccaneers? It will all depend on his knee; a knee sprain can take some time to heal.

Knee Sprain: What Is It?

A sprain occurs in the ligaments, which are elastic-like bands that connect one bone to another bone and keep your joints in place.

When a sprain occurs (sprains are most common in your ankles and knees) the ligaments can either be partially torn or completely torn.

Since sources are reporting that Brady’s sprain is mild, he most likely has a partial tear – as a complete tear of the ligament would be a serious injury.

A sprain generally occurs when coming into contact with the ground or results from a twisting motion. Almost always, the person knows when an injury like this occurs, as the pain is usually severe and difficult to pinpoint exactly where it hurts.

Instant pain and swelling are common among sprains.

Types of Knee Sprains and Grades

There are four different types of knee sprains, according to the Sports Injury Clinic – they include; medial ligament sprain, lateral ligament sprain, anterior cruciate sprain, posterior cruciate sprain. Each of these sprains occurs at different points in the knee and can occur in more than one place.

Here you can see the ligaments that maybe involved in a sprain. Image by Gray348.png: Henry Vandyke Carter

Here you can see the ligaments that maybe involved in a knee sprain. Image by Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body, 1918.

  • The medial ligament sprain will cause pain on the inside of the knee and is generally the result of an impact from the outside of the knee.
  • A sprain in the lateral ligament results in pain on the outside of the knee and caused by impact from the inside of the knee.

The other two types of sprain involve the cruciate  ligament that crosses over the middle of the knee, providing forward and backward stability.

  • The anterior cruciate ligament sprain is when a twisting or impact to the knee occurs. A posterior cruciate ligament sprain generally happens when a movement forces the knee joint the wrong way.

So how bad is a knee sprain? It depends on how bad the tear is – and that is based on a grade of one, two or three.

  • A grade one injury is a minor tear where no more than ten percent of the fibers are torn.
  • A grade two tear occurs when up to 90 percent of the fibers are torn.
  • Grade three injuries are when the ligament is completely torn.

Sprained Knee: Tom Brady’s Treatment

The football player’s treatment will depend on the grade of injury. Treatment for a grade one or two injury is the same, and includes rest, ice, elevating the leg, and a compression bandage to reduce swelling. However, if a person suffers a grade three injury surgery surgery maybe necessary. Tom may need crutches temporarily to keep weight off the knee until he can bear weight on the injured leg, he may be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, to reduce pain and swelling, and a physical therapist may suggest mobility exercises once he can bend his knee.

Football Injuries: Mild vs. Severe

Tom Brady’s knee sprain is mild, which probably means that it is a grade one injury. With rest, he should make a fully recovery. Will he get to play in the game on Friday? It will all depend on what his doctors and physical therapists recommend.


Mayo Clinic. Sprain First Aid. (2012). Accessed August 15, 2013.

NY York Daily News. MRI negative for Tom Brady after knee injury scare at Patriots practice. (2013). Accessed August 15, 2013.

Sports Injury Clinic. Knee Sprain. Accessed August 15, 2013.

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