The Vault

Spine Injuries In Football - Spine Center of Texas
lower back injuries, sports injuries, spine doctor, pain management, spine surgery
Back Injuries In Sports
sciatica, lower back pain
Sciatica: What You Need To Know
lower back injuries, sports injuries, spine doctor, pain management, spine surgery
Back Injuries In Sports
sciatica, lower back pain
Sciatica: What You Need To Know

Spine Injuries In Football

Spine injuries in football are extremely common in young athletes. Football appeals to our ancient need to engage in contests. Unfortunately, the high-velocity tackles 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 suffer cervical spine injuries. The same studies link the offense and defensive lineman and linebackers to the higher side of the risk spectrum.

Symptoms Of Spine Injuries

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

There has been a decrease in incidences of cervical spine injuries, thanks to rule changes over the last four decades. Coaches and athletes also have a higher awareness of the injury risks.

Following these guidelines will help prevent a cervical spine injury:

  • Teach (and 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 suspects they have a cervical spine injury, a complete neurological exam will take place on the field or sideline. A backboard and additional emergency medical equipment are essential to prepare the player for transportation to a medical facility for further evaluation and treatment.

If you have a history of a neck injury from football participation, find out about the treatment choices we provide at our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.