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Mask Can Aid Player With Broken Nose

A protective mask may help UNC's Tyler Hansbrough, who broke his nose in a game against Duke.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A broken nose doesn't stop a player like UNC's Tyler Hansbrough -- not when it's ACC Tournament time.
But how big a risk do basketball players take by playing with a broken nose?

According to Dr. Clifton Patterson, an ear, nose and throat physician, the only risk is that the next blow to the nose may hurt a lot more. That's where a protective mask may help Hansbrough.

The UNC basketball player suffered the injury in the last seconds of a game with Duke University when Gerald Henderson's forearm came crashing down on Hansbrough's nose. He suffered a non-displaced bone fracture.

Most of the nose is cartilage. The bone is higher up toward the bridge of the nose, the toughest part.

"And that's where Tyler Hansborough was hit, and he probably just has a crack there and not a displaced fracture," Patterson said.

Patterson works with many athletes with nose injuries and said he usually lets players with an injury like Hansbrough's play the next day, with or without a protective mask.

"It's specifically constructed to fit for his cheek bones and nasal bones. That's why it's sometimes uncomfortable because they sweat. It's a foreign body to them," Patterson said. "They can't see the basket as well, so some players don't like it."


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