Nine athletes (seven football offensive linemen, one defensive lineman, and one lacrosse player) were found at arthroscopy to have posterior labral detachment from the glenoid. In our series, this lesion is specific to contact athletes who engage their opponents with arms in front of the body. All patients had pain with bench pressing and while participating in their sport, diminishing their ability to play effectively. Conservative measures were ineffective in relieving their symptoms. Examination under anesthesia revealed symmetric glenohumeral translation bilaterally, without evidence of posterior instability. Treatment consisted of glenoid rim abradement and posterior labral repair with a bioabsorbable tack. All patients returned to complete at least one full season of contact sports and weightlifting without pain (minimum follow-up, > or = 2 years). Although many injuries leading to subluxation of the glenohumeral joint occur when an unanticipated force is applied, contact athletes ready their shoulder muscles in anticipation of impact with opponents. This leads to a compressive force at the glenohumeral joint. We hypothesize that, in combination with a posteriorly directed force at impact, the resultant vector is a shearing force to the posterior labrum and articular surface. Repeated exposure leads to posterior labral detachment without capsular injury. Posterior labral reattachment provides consistently good results, allowing the athlete to return to competition.