Head and neck injuries in young athletes

Clin Sports Med. 2000 Oct;19(4):693-715. doi: 10.1016/s0278-5919(05)70233-7.


Careful study of the pathophysiology and epidemiology of sports-related spine injuries brings to light many common features. The incidence increases as the sport becomes increasingly violent and aggressive. Poor conditioning and lack of knowledge of the proper techniques of the sport put the athlete at significant risk for head and spine injury. Improper helmet fit and the use of the head as an offensive weapon also are common features of injury. Although recognition of these features has resulted in a dramatic reduction in catastrophic neurological injury, the athlete remains at risk for less severe head and spine injury, and concussion remains at epidemic proportions at high school, university, and professional levels. It is hoped that careful recognition of the signs of concussion and knowledge of return-to-play criteria will prevent catastrophic complications from minor head injuries, although the long-term effects of multiple concussions on cognition may be problematic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology
  • Brain Concussion / etiology
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Neck Injuries / epidemiology
  • Neck Injuries / etiology
  • Neck Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors