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Neck and spinal cord injuries: An ugly side of sports

People who play sports, whether they play in youth leagues, school leagues, community leagues or for leisure, are at risk of developing sports-related neck injuries. The chance of these injuries occurring when playing is greater if proper equipment isn't available or if proper safety guidelines are followed. Our Ohio readers might be interested in learning some information about why trying to prevent these injuries is so important.

What are some possible neck injuries possible from playing sports?

Cervical fractures, brachial plexus injuries, dislocated bones, whiplash and disc injuries are all possible from playing sports. These neck injuries can occur in a variety of sports. Football, basketball, hockey, sledding, trampolines, horseback riding and soccer are some of the activities that can lead to spinal cord or neck injuries. Even diving, swimming, cheerleading, skateboarding and baseball can lead to injuries.

How common are sports-related neck injuries?

Sports-related neck injuries were the reason for an estimated 2,692 of the 14,390 emergency room visits resulting from neck injuries in 2009. This figure likely doesn't include the more minor neck injuries that patients might have treated at home.

What are the signs of a neck injury?

Pain, even if it isn't severe, is a common sign of a neck injury. Pain might radiate into the shoulder or down the arms. The neck area might be tender or bruised. There is also a chance that the arms or legs might feel weak, be paralyzed or have decreased feeling. Any of those signs necessitate medical care.

If the neck injury suffered is caused by someone else's negligence, seeking compensation might help cover some of the medical costs associated with the injury. Knowing the applicable laws and statute of limitations might help victims to decide how to proceed.

Source: American Association of Neurological Surgeons, "Sports-Related Neck Injury" Dec. 16, 2014

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