Getting Back Into the Game After Testicular Fracture

Still, a testicular fracture is not something that is easily shaken off. In simple terms, a testicular fracture involves a "crack" in the testicle; the organ retains its shape, but it is damaged. Though different from a testicular rupture, which involves a complete hemorrhage of the testicle, a fracture in this delicate organ can be extraordinarily painful -- and may even require surgery, in many cases.

"It is indeed extraordinarily painful," said Dr. Mark Litwin, professor of urology and public health at the University of California at Los Angeles. Litwin adds that the natural vulnerability of testicles is "one of these anatomical curiosities med students never understand."

"The placement of ovaries makes sense. ... [Testicles] are in the worst place you could put them. They really are in harm's way."

Whether Snyder will be able to reconcile the pain of his injury when he crouches back behind the plate will likely be apparent with his reaction to potentially troublesome pitches, Lardon noted.

"If it is PTSD, we see avoidance," he said. "Avoidance is the natural inclination to avoid putting yourself in the same situation again."

But Llewellyn said he believes that any initial tendencies toward avoidance for Snyder should work themselves out quickly. "When he initially starts back, he may flinch a time or two," he said. "But these are strong guys mentally; once things get going I don't think it will be an issue."

Fortunately, no matter the effect on his professional life, doctors said it is unlikely that the injury will affect his personal life.

"This injury and prompt repair should have no effect on his fertility or his sex life," said Dr. Raju Thomas, professor and chairman of urology at the Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. "The other testicle will take over, and his remaining testis will recover some."

Getting Back in the Game

St. James said he is familiar with the fear of returning to a sport after a testicular injury firsthand, adding that stepping onto the wrestling mats for the first time after his injury was a challenge.

"I was a little nervous when I got into sports a year afterward because of what happened," he said.

But, he noted, his fear eventually dissipated in the heat of competition. The biggest challenge now? Enduring the friendly ribbing.

"Really, dealing with the aftermath gets intense," St. James said. "It is something that people talk about and joke about, and I've learned to have a sense of humor about it."

And it's something that Snyder may also have to endure, Llewellyn said. "I think his major task will be dealing with the things the batters have to say to him."

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