Management of Acute Subaxial Trauma and Spinal Cord Injury in Professional Collision Athletes

Parthik D. Patel, Srikanth N. Divi, Jose A. Canseco, Chester J. Donnally, Matthew Galetta, Alexander Vaccaro, Gregory D. Schroeder, Wellington K. Hsu, Andrew C. Hecht, Andrew B. Dossett, Arsh S. Dhanota, Srivinas K. Prasad, Alexander R. Vaccaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sports-related acute cervical trauma and spinal cord injury (SCI) represent a rare but devastating potential complication of collision sport injuries. Currently, there is debate on appropriate management protocols and return-to-play guidelines in professional collision athletes following cervical trauma. While cervical muscle strains and sprains are among the most common injuries sustained by collision athletes, the life-changing effects of severe neurological sequelae (ie, quadriplegia and paraplegia) from fractures and SCIs require increased attention and care. Appropriate on-field management and subsequent transfer/workup at an experienced trauma/SCI center is necessary for optimal patient care, prevention of injury exacerbation, and improvement in outcomes. This review discusses the epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, immediate/long-term management, and current return-to-play recommendations of athletes who suffer cervical trauma and SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-248
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Spine Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • acute cervical trauma
  • return-to-play
  • spinal cord injury
  • sport injuries
  • team physician


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