Admit it, the first thing that popped into your head when you heard that Cardinals wide receiver Early Doucet had a Sports Hernia and would need surgery was ...
I wonder what a Sports Hernia is and can I see pictures of it?
Fortunately, the GREAT INTERNET delivers again with: http://www.sportshernia.com
Here's what that all-knowing web site, authored by Sports Hernia expert Dr. William Brown, III says:
Side note: Dr. William Brown, Jr. was an expert in ankle sprains, but wanted more for his son.
A sports hernia occurs with the weakening of the muscles or tendons in a thin region of the abdominal wall. Once overexerted, a muscle tear occurs inside the groin. The overexertion occurs because of a losing battle with the adductor muscles of the thigh. The oblique muscles attach at the pubis in the groin. When contracting, they pull up on the pubis as the trunk flexes and rotates. Adductor muscles also attach at the pubis. The muscles pull on the pelvis from below as they work to move the femur medially toward the body. When both oblique muscles and adductor muscles contract at the same time, a tug-of-war of the pelvis ensues. Because athletes tend to focus on strengthening the lower body more so than the trunk, the adductor muscles are typically stronger. As a result the weaker oblique muscles tear, resulting in a sports hernia.
The tear and hence the repair is right next to the scrotal sack (commonly known as nuts) in the very inner thigh. As inner as you can get, in fact, without starting in the outer direction.
It's the hole you can feel if you stick your hand down your pants and touch yourself between the leg muscle and the ball sack. Go ahead and try it -- it's for medical information purposes only.
Medical translation services provided by Dr. Susan Williams, NMD, aka my wife, with the use of manual demonstration.
To fix the hernia, the doctor will slice open Early's nearly man parts and insert some mesh or stitches to fix what's basically a torn muscle, as showing in this image from http://www.sportshernia.com
According to http://www.sportshernia.com, Early will be able to return to sexual activity immediately after the procedure, although Dr. Brown, III does have this to say about housework:
Women can start housekeeping right away. Men should avoid dishwashing or vacuuming for at least six weeks after surgery. :)
An interesting side note of this surgery is that "the vas deferens (sperm tube) travels through the operative field and can be easily divided during groin reconstruction."
Dr. William Brown, III therefore recommends having a vasectomy while doing the hernia repair. It appears this is optional; no word yet on Early's decision regarding this additional surgical feature.