Despite receiving a pretty harsh diagnosis following her accident – doctors said that Melissa Rycroft sustained disc herniation in her cervical spine at the C4-C5 level – the reality star seems intent on staying in the Dancing With the Stars Season 15 All-Stars competition. (In fact, she danced last night during the group Freestyle number to “Call Me Maybe.”) It’s a plucky move on her part, for sure. But is it safe?
We turned to sports medicine expert Dr. Brian Kessler, MD, of New York’s Spine & Sports, who gave Wetpaint Entertainment his take on the matter.
“Wow,” is the first thing he said when we informed him of Rycroft’s diagnosis. “That’s not a nothing injury.”
“If she were my patient, I would tell her absolutely no activity for the time being,” Kessler continues. He then concedes, “But I understand this is probably an opportunity she doesn’t want to pass up.”
“In that case, if she’s going to keep dancing, she needs to be extremely careful,” he says. “At all times, she should try to keep her neck as straight as possible. If she can, it’d be preferable to do a slow dance this week as opposed to something fast and jerky. She really needs to play it safe in terms of neck and head movement.”
"If she were a professional athlete, she would not be allowed to play. Personally, I think she should be shut down. Her injury needs aggressive treatment. She needs physical therapy and rest. The chances that she can make this worse are high."
“Obviously, she shouldn’t be doing crazy spins, flips or tumbling,” he adds.
And while she took a risk that seemed to pay off by performing in last night’s fast-paced group dance, she could end up doing even more damage to her body if she’s not careful.
Says Kessler: “Her injury could get much, much worse if it keeps getting irritated. It needs to heal.”
Catch a new episode of Dancing With the Stars Season 15: All-Stars on Tuesday, October 23 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Follow Beth Sobol on Twitter @bethieso.
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