Special considerations must be brought into play when the physician is consulted about when to allow an athlete to return to play following injury. This is especially true for brain and spinal cord injury. Although it is generally best to be on the conservative side, being too reticent about allowing any athlete to return may be very detrimental to the athlete and/or the entire team. Therefore, it behooves the sports physician to be circumspect with regard to not only the type of injury the athlete has suffered but also the nature, duration, and the repetitive aspects of the trauma along with the inherent strengths of any player. This article will provide the sports physician with criteria for making sound decisions regarding return to competition after cervical spine injury and "functional" cervical spinal stenosis.