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Broken Neck & Rugby

 

 

Broken Neck Injury Introduction

 

When an injury occurs in the neck area of the spine and the individual vertebrae become fractured or dislocated, the neck can be described as broken. This is obviously a very serious injury which can result in quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs) or death and can occur with high impact sports such as rugby. This injury can occur by collapsing of a scrum which will put excessive pressure on the front row or due to direct head trauma from an opposing player.

The neck area of the spine is referred to as the cervical area. Cervical vertebrae (neck bones) are the top 7 bones in the spinal column. These top 7 bones form the top part of our “backbone” and they also serve to protect the spinal cord from injury.

If the vertebrae are broken or severely dislocated, but the spinal cord is unharmed, then neurological problems may not occur. The higher up the break in the cervical vertebrae the more dangerous the injury is to the player. People with this type of injury are treated very carefully while the bones heal to avoid damage to the spinal cord.

Due to the serious consequences of this injury first aid treatment should be attempted only by qualified medical personnel.

 


Broken Neck Signs & Symptoms

 

Usually following an accident or injury:


• Neck pain, which may or may not be severe
• In some severe cases the player may be unconscious on the pitch
• Difficulty breathing
• Swelling and bruising
• Tenderness
• Decreased feeling in the arms or legs
• Muscle weakness or paralysis of the arms or legs

 


Broken Neck Treatment



All treatment should only be undertaken by qualified medical professional

.Treatment of a fractured neck depends on the injury. A compression fracture, with the bones pushed into each other, can sometimes be treated with a cervical collar for 6 to 8 weeks. A more serious fracture may need traction, surgery, or a rigid frame to keep the neck from moving.

Prolonged immobilization for 8 to 12 weeks is achieved either by screwing the fragments together surgically or instructing the patient to wear a plaster cast.

Once the fracture has healed, a physiotherapist will recommend exercises to increase muscular strength and flexibility of the neck.



 

 

 

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