spear tackler's spine


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An axial-load injury to the cervical spine, caused by a diving tackle in American football in players who habitually use their head as the initial point of contact
Imaging Plain radiographs—cervical stenosis, posttraumatic changes, loss of normal cervical lordosis, caused by repeated axial loading and microtrauma to spinal structures. It is usually irreversible; a straightened cervical spine is at risk of permanent neurologic injury with further axial loading—the combination of STS and head-first tackling is extremely dangerous; this type of injury is an absolute contraindication to further participation in contact sports
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

spear tackler’s spine

Injury to the cervical spine resulting from players using their heads as a primary point of impact with their opponents’ bodies in contact sports such as football or soccer. This condition is considered an absolute contraindication to participation in contact sports in which high-energy axial loads may be applied to the cervical spine because it markedly heightens the risk of nerve injury or paralysis. Spear tackler’s spine is based on four criteria identified by Joseph Torg: 1. developmental stenosis of the cervical vertebral canal; 2. loss of the normal lordotic cervical curvature; 3. roentgenographic evidence of post-traumatic abnormalities of the cervical spine; and 4. a history of axial loads delivered to the cervical spine.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners