Current Sports Medicine Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 56-61

First online:

Return-to-play decisions after cervical spine injuries

  • Jessica L. Ellis
  • , Jamie E. GottliebAffiliated withSouth Bend Orthopaedic Associates Email author 

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This article summarizes the current evidence and expert opinion on making return-to-play decisions after cervical spine injuries. Injuries discussed include fractures, central cord neuropraxia, stringers, disc herniations, strains, sprains, and instability. Each of these injuries may be complicated by coexistence of other conditions making return-to-play decisions more complicated. The congenital, developmental, and disease processes discussed include spear tackler’s spine, congenital and developmental stenosis, Klippel-Feil syndrome, odontoid abnormalities, rheumatoid arthritis, spina bifida, and Arnold-Chiari malformations. Postsurgical considerations are also discussed. This review represents an abundant amount of expert opinion that was overwhelmingly based on case series, case reports, and biomechanical studies to support the return-to-play guidelines.