The fall sports season is starting soon! If you have children who play football, it’s important to be aware of some common injuries that can occur with this contact sport. Football involves making a lot of movements that can cause potential damage, especially to the upper spine and shoulders, such as tackling, pivoting and blocking.
Shoulder dislocations and inflamed or torn tendons are common injuries associated with football. Players can dislocate their shoulder when they’re tackled or when they raise their arms to catch the ball. A shoulder dislocation can also happen when players try to reach the end zone or if they stretch their arms out when hitting the ground. Players who throw the ball often, such as quarterbacks, can suffer from shoulder tendinitis, which occurs due to overuse of the shoulder joint.
Cervical Spine Injuries
Injuries to the cervical spine, or upper spine, can affect the upper back and neck. Players can develop upper spinal injuries when they’re tackled to the ground, especially if they’re tackled by more than one player. Quarterbacks are also prone to injuries that affect the upper spine and neck from looking around to avoid other players and getting tackled. Damage to the cervical spine can result in torn muscles, ligaments and other soft tissue. Upper spinal discs can also sustain injuries, leading to chronic pain without proper treatment and rehabilitation. Players can also end up with strains or fractures to the upper spine.
Other types of injuries are also common in football, including torn ligaments and other knee injuries, ankle sprains and head injuries. Players can also develop injuries that affect their lower back, such as slipped discs, stress fractures and muscle strains.
Treatment for Football Injuries
The type of treatment for football injuries depends on the kind of injury and how severe it is. Mild shoulder and cervical spine injuries might respond to physical therapy and other nonsurgical forms of treatment. However, more severe injuries might require surgery to remove damaged tissue, correct disc problems or make other repairs.
Football players can lower the risk of injuries by wearing the right equipment and building up stamina, strength and flexibility. Keep in mind that some injuries, such as those resulting from being tackled, are more difficult to prevent. Those who already have an injury should make sure it’s treated properly to reduce the risk of injuring the same area again.
If your children end up with a football injury that affects their shoulder or upper spine, please contact Capital City Neurosurgery to set up a consultation. Our neurosurgeon, Dr. Kelly Kiehm, can evaluate their injury and recommend the best course of treatment.