Cervical Spine Injuries in Sports
Injuries to the cervical spine in athletes are rare but potentially devastating outcomes resulting from involvement in sports activities. New rules and regulations implemented by national sports organizations have helped to decrease the rate of cervical spine and spinal cord injuries sustained by athletes. A basic understanding of cervical spine anatomy, physical examination and spine precautions is necessary for any physi cian evaluating athletes on the field to determine if transfer to higher level of care is needed. It is particularly important to know the systematic protocol for spine immobilization, neuro logic exam and helmet removal in a patient with a suspected cervical spine injury. While cervical strain is the most common cervical spine injury, physicians should be familiar with the presentation for other injuries, such as Burner's syndrome (Stinger), cervical disk herniation, transient quadriplegia and cervical spine fractures or dislocations. Special consideration is needed when evaluating patients with Down syndrome as they are at higher risk for atlantoaxial instability. Determination of when an athlete can return to play is patient-specific with early return to play allowed only in a completely asymptomatic patient.
Kleeman LT, Gallizzi MA, Blizzard DJ, Erickson MM. Cervical Spine Injuries in Sports. The Duke Orthop J 2015;5(1):5862.
Blizzard, DJ; Gallizzi, MA; Kleeman, LT; Erickson, MM
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