The Vault

How Football is Connected to Spine Injuries - Spine Center of Texas
spine deformity, back pain, back surgery
Vertebral Compression Fractures
collarbone, back pain, spine center, back surgery
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – Overview, Causes, and Symptoms
spine deformity, back pain, back surgery
Vertebral Compression Fractures
collarbone, back pain, spine center, back surgery
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – Overview, Causes, and Symptoms

Football season is upon us again, with many of us excited for the start of a new season! Football appeals to our primal need to engage in battle as participants and spectators. Unfortunately, the high-velocity forces exerted with player-to-player, and player-to-ground contact often results in frequent and grave injuries. Cervical spine injuries are a serious consequence of playing the game.

American football has the highest incidence of spine injury among all sports, with cervical injuries being the most common. Research studies estimate that 15% of players incur cervical spine injuries, with the offense and defensive lineman and linebackers being at the highest risk.

The symptoms of a cervical spine injury frequently mimic a less severe problem. Many severe cervical injuries result from the force applied to the straight spine and the direction from which it is applied. Spear tackling, which is a technique where one player tackles another leading with his head, has been outlawed because of its high association with cervical spine trauma.

Rule changes over the last four decades have resulted in decreasing the incidence of cervical spine injuries. Coaches and athletes also have an elevated awareness of the injury risks.

Following these guidelines can help prevent a cervical spine injury:

  • Teach (and to learn) the correct tackling techniques
  • Ensure all equipment, especially helmets, is well-maintained, fits correctly, and meets national safety standards
  • Implement and enforce all safety rules
  • Have an athletic trainer present at each practice and game, and a team physician in attendance during games.
  • Develop and implement a written cervical spine EAP (emergency action plan) and provide yearly training
  • Appropriately identify any at risk conditions during a pre-participation physical
  • Have tools available and create strategies for safely removing protective equipment

When a player has a suspected cervical spine injury, a complete neurological exam will take place on the field or sideline. A backboard and additional emergency medical equipment will be needed to prepare the player for transportation to a medical facility for further evaluation and treatment.

If you have had a neck injury resulting from football participation and would like to find out about the treatment choices we provide, please contact us at our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.