Mechanisms of cervical spine injury in rugby union: A systematic review of the literature

D. Kuster, R. Abboud, T. Drew, A. Gibson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    35 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: Severe cervical spine injury in rugby union (rugby) exerts a major impact on the individual who sustains the injury and on the broader society. Since the late 1970s, authors of rugby case report studies have postulated that the underlying mechanism of cervical spine injury is hyperflexion of the neck. However, this is in conflict with findings from more recent experimental studies. These have shown that it is more likely that the majority of cervical spine injuries occur due to buckling of the cervical spinal column. Objective: To investigate the primary mechanism of cervical spine injury in rugby. Methods: A comprehensive and systematic review of the literature was undertaken. Six key factors were identified and subsequently used to investigate the two principally postulated mechanisms of cervical spine injury: hyperflexion and buckling. Results: Facet dislocations, in particular bilateral facet dislocations, were identified as the most common types of cervical spine injury in rugby. Trauma occurred most often at lower cervical spinal levels, notably the C4/5 and C5/6 motion segments. Experimental studies demonstrate that bilateral facet dislocations occurring at the lower cervical spinal levels are primarily produced via buckling. Conclusion: Our analysis of key factors for cervical spine injury in rugby shows that it is unlikely that the majority of injuries occur after hyperflexion of the neck. It appears more likely that they are the result of buckling of the cervical spinal column.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)550-554
    Number of pages5
    JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
    Volume46
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanisms of cervical spine injury in rugby union: A systematic review of the literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this