Author(s): Boran S, Lenehan B, Street J, McCormack D, Poynton A
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Abstract INTRODUCTION: The incidence of traumatic spinal cord injury varies in different countries from 2.5 to 57.8 per million per annum, with sport accounting for 8-12.7\% of these injuries. Spinal injuries associated with recreational sport often result in long-term permanent disability in otherwise active individuals. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The aetiology, pattern and mechanism of the 196 sports-related spinal injuries treated in the National Spinal Injuries unit in Ireland from 1993 to 2003 is reviewed in this article. RESULTS: Sports-related spinal injuries accounted for 11\% of all spinal injury admissions. There were 145 (74\%) males and 51 (26\%) females, with an average age of 30.2 years (range 14-72 years). The most common sport responsible for a spinal injury was equestrian events (41.8\%), rugby (16.3\%), diving (15.3\%), Gaelic football and hurling (9.6\%), cycling (4.2\%), and miscellaneous (12.7\%). Injury distribution was cervical spine (118 patients, 60\%), thoracic (41 patients, 21\%), lumbar spine (37 patients, 19\%). In 18 patients (9.25\%) more than one region was affected. In 78 patients (40\%) more than one vertebral level was affected. On admission 71 patients (36\%) had a neurological deficit with 46 patients (65\%) incomplete and 25 (35\%) complete, of which 6 patients (23\%) were paraplegic and 19 (77\%) were tetraplegic. CONCLUSION: Sport is an important cause of spinal injury among young people in Ireland. This study contributes to our understanding of these injuries aetiology, pattern and mechanism of injury and allows constructive recommendations for injury prevention and management.
This article was published in Ir J Med Sci
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access