Pneumothorax in a weight lifter: the importance of vigilance

Phys Sportsmed. 2000 Apr;28(4):97-103. doi: 10.3810/psm.2000.04.853.


A 27-year-old weight lifter developed mild chest pain and dyspnea after 'bouncing' a 250-lb barbell off his chest. A plain radiograph revealed a large, right-sided pneumothorax with collapse of the lung. He underwent an emergency tube thoracostomy. One month later, he resumed lifting without recurrence. This case report demonstrates the need to be responsive to dyspnea and chest pain in healthy, young athletes. Pneumothorax in sports is uncommon, but cases of spontaneous and trauma-induced pneumothorax have been reported. Initial symptoms may be minimal, but prompt recognition can help prevent respiratory and cardiovascular compromise. Treatment depends in part on the size of the pneumothorax.