European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 169, Issue 5, pp 557–562 | Cite as

Athletics, minor trauma, and pediatric arterial ischemic stroke

  • Kathryn Sepelyak
  • Philippe Gailloud
  • Lori C. JordanEmail author
Original Paper


Pediatric arterial ischemic stroke may occur as the result of trivial head or neck trauma sustained during a sports activity. We describe three cases of sports-related stroke in previously healthy school-age children and discuss acute and long-term stroke care. Possible mechanisms of sports-related stroke are addressed, as is evaluation for cause of stroke in children. In one of the reported cases, the child was found to have a vertebral artery dissection as the cause of his stroke, but no definitive cause of stroke was identified in the other two cases despite extensive evaluation. The advisability and timing of returning to athletic activities after stroke is also discussed. Many children with sports-related stroke are initially seen by a sports trainer, a pediatrician, or an ER physician. Thus, it is particularly important that these professionals are aware of the possibility of ischemic stroke occurring after even mild athletic injury. Childhood stroke may result from injuries sustained during athletic activities and should be considered when a child has acute focal neurologic signs.


Pediatric stroke Sports-related stroke Athletic injury Arterial dissection 


Funding source

Lori Jordan was supported by the National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke K23NS062110.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn Sepelyak
    • 1
  • Philippe Gailloud
    • 2
  • Lori C. Jordan
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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