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Orthopaedic Sports Medicine

Answer 4
  1. Permanent discontinuation of participation in contact sports. This athlete experienced transient quadriplegia, an injury that usually occurs with hyperextension or hyperflexion of the cervical spine. The hyperextension causes narrowing of the spinal canal and compression of the spinal cord. Each case of transient quadriplegia must be carefully evaluated to determine the patient’s relative risk regarding athletic participation. While the case patientıs neurologic symptoms were mild, her radiologic findings revealed 3 absolute contraindications for return to play: spinal canal stenosis, spinal cord edema, and atlanto-occipital fusion. These 3 conditions increase the risk of permanent neurologic deficit and make damage to the spinal cord more likely. One of these findings alone merits immediate termination of contact sport participation; all 3 abnormalities together make this recommendation a necessity.5

    5. Cantu RC. Guidelines for return to contact or collision sport after a cervical spine injury. Clin Sports Med 1998; 17:137-46.

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