Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries in the United States are estimated at 11,000 new cases each year. And surprisingly, sports participation constitutes the fourth most common cause of these spinal cord injuries with football ranking highest in number of injuries for all sports according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).
In no other injury is the need for efficient immediate care, transport, diagnosis, and treatment more crucial to the outcome than with an athlete of a potentially catastrophic spinal cord injury. The risk of neurologic deterioration during and after the initial management of a cervical-spine injury is extremely high.
Athletic trainers, coaches and sports medicine providers need to know the appropriate acute-management guidelines for athletes with cervical-spine injuries. In the Journal of Athletic Training, NATA emphasizes the importance of knowing how to correctly assess symptoms and execute the right precautions and practices for immediate care and transport to an emergency medical facility.
Even eMedicine weighs in and says that one of the most challenging responsibilities of the team physician involves the intervention and decision-making processes regarding cervical spine injuries in contact sports. He or she must be well-versed in the prevention, evaluation, stabilization, and treatment of cervical-spine injuries. For instance, should helmet stay on or be removed? It can depend on what type of helmet and which will leave the victim’s cervical spine in neutral alignment. The need to give lifesaving CPR is another consideration. If helmet or shoulder pads must be removed—then both should be removed.
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Proper management of acute spinal cord injuries on the athletic playing field is absolutely critical to avoid injury or exacerbate spinal cord injuries that have already occurred.
If you or a loved one has experienced a catastrophic spinal cord injury, we can provide assistance in all legal matters associated with this unfortunate tragedy, and represent your family’s interests against the parties at fault. Complete this form for FREE consultation.
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