Catastrophic cervical spine injuries in the collision sport athlete, part 2: Principles of emergency care

Rahul Banerjee, Mark A. Palumbo, Paul D. Fadale

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Catastrophic cervical spine injuries can lead to devastating consequences for the collision athlete. Improved understanding of these injuries can lead to identification of risk factors, early diagnosis, and effective on-field management. This article is the second in a 2-part series. The first part, published in the June 2004 issue, reviewed the current concepts regarding the epidemiology, functional anatomy, and diagnostic considerations relevant to cervical spine trauma in collision sports. In this article, the principles of on-field emergency care of the spine-injured athlete are reviewed. The authors discuss the need for effective pre-event planning, on-field evaluation and management of cervical spine injuries, and the transition of care from the playing field to the emergency room. The protocol for equipment removal, when necessary, is also reviewed. An organized, rapid approach to the management of cervical spine-injured collision athletes can help to optimize the outcomes of these catastrophic injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1760-1764
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Cervical spine injury
  • Collision athlete
  • Football
  • Hockey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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