Catastrophic cervical spine injuries can lead to devastating consequences for the collision athlete. Improved understanding of these injuries can facilitate early diagnosis and effective on-field management. This article is the first of a 2-part series. The first part reviews the current concepts regarding the epidemiology, functional anatomy, and diagnostic considerations relevant to cervical spine trauma in collision sports. In the second part, to be published later, the principles of emergency care of the cervical spine-injured athlete are reviewed. This article provides a rational approach to the early recognition of the different clinical syndromes associated with catastrophic cervical spine injury. Rapid on-field diagnosis can help to optimize the outcomes of these catastrophic injuries.
- Cervical spine injury
- Collision athlete
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation