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BMJ Case Rep. 2009;2009. pii: bcr07.2008.0573. doi: 10.1136/bcr.07.2008.0573. Epub 2009 Apr 28.

A case of an 18-year-old male rugby union forward with a C5/C6 central disc herniation.

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  • New Lynn Family Health Centre, 3075 Great North Road, New Lynn, Waitakere, 0640, New Zealand.


The patient was an 18-year-old front row forward rugby player who had a history of episodic neck pain for over 2 years following playing games of rugby. The initial event of April 2005 for which the symptoms manifested was a scrum collapse; he continued playing until a front-on tackle occurred when the symptoms dictated that he leave the field and be taken to the local hospital. A diagnosis of a cervical sprain was made and conservative management ensued. During the selections held on January 2008, a medical assessment was made and an MRI found that he had a central disc herniation at C5/C6. He was referred to a spinal orthopaedic surgeon for further treatment. The risks to cervical spinal injuries are illustrated in this case, in a scrum and in the tackle. The prevention of such an injury is discussed.

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