Spinal injuries in sports

Neurol Clin. 2008 Feb;26(1):63-78; viii. doi: 10.1016/j.ncl.2007.12.005.


Athletic competition has long been a known source of spinal injuries. Approximately 8.7% of all new cases of spinal cord injuries in the United States are related to sports activities. The sports activities that have the highest risk of catastrophic spinal injuries are football, ice hockey, wrestling, diving, skiing, snowboarding, rugby, and cheerleading. Axial compression forces to the top of the head can lead to cervical fracture and quadriplegia in any sport. It is critical for any medical personnel responsible for athletes in team sports to have a plan for stabilization and transfer of an athlete who sustains a cervical spine injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / pathology
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries
  • Cervical Vertebrae / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Spinal Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Spinal Injuries / pathology
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed