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Sports Health. 2016 Jan-Feb;8(1):19-25. doi: 10.1177/1941738115610753. Epub 2015 Oct 14.

Return-to-Play Recommendations After Cervical, Thoracic, and Lumbar Spine Injuries: A Comprehensive Review.

Author information

1
Midwestern University, Downers Grove, Illinois philhuang1@gmail.com.
2
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
3
Total Sports Medicine Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada.
4
Lemak Sports Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Currently, there is a national focus on establishing and disseminating standardized guidelines for return to play for athletes at all levels of competition. As more data become available, protocols and guidelines are being refined and implemented to assist physicians, coaches, trainers, players, and parents in making decisions about return to play. To date, no standardized criteria for returning to play exist for injuries to the spine.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION:

Electronic databases including PubMed and MEDLINE and professional orthopaedic, neurosurgical, and spine organizational websites were reviewed between 1980 and 2015.

STUDY DESIGN:

Clinical review.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level 4.

RESULTS:

Although clinical guidelines have been published for return to play after spine injury, they are almost exclusively derived from expert opinion and clinical experience rather than from well-designed studies. Furthermore, recommendations differ and vary depending on anatomic location, type of sport, and surgery performed.

CONCLUSION:

Despite a lack of consensus and specific recommendations, there is universal agreement that athletes should be pain free, completely neurologically intact, and have full strength and range of motion before returning to play after spinal injury.

KEYWORDS:

return to play; spine injury; spine surgery; sports

PMID:
26502187
PMCID:
PMC4702157
DOI:
10.1177/1941738115610753
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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