Category: Spinal Cord Injury | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
High-impact car accidents are the most common cause of severe spinal cord injuries in Minnesota, but sometimes they occur during athletic activity. Tweaking a muscle in your back or suffering a pinched nerve can happen in any sport, but severe spinal cord injuries occur at a much less frequent rate. But which sports are the most dangerous in terms of severe spinal cord injuries here in Minnesota?
Spinal Cord Injuries in Sports
Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are the result of a high-impact collision when the head, neck or spine is positioned in an awkward angle. Because of this, some sports are inherently more likely to lead to an SCI. A review of Minnesota Department of Health data from 1993-2012 revealed the number of SCIs by sport here in Minnesota.
Not surprisingly, football is considered the most dangerous sport for spinal cord injuries. Here’s a closer look at the number of people who were hospitalized because of an SCI by sport over that span.
- Football – 35
- Hockey – 21
- Wrestling – 20
- Skiing – 19
- Baseball/Softball – 8
- Basketball – 6
A total of 120 spinal cord hospitalizations from sporting activity were logged during that 20-year stretch. A total of eight athletes also suffered spinal cord injuries during diving and cheerleading competitions, as well as during soccer matches. Almost 90 percent of SCI hospitalizations involved males, and half of the athletes were between the ages of 14 and 18. It’s worth noting that the total number of athletes participating in these sports was not tracked, so it’s not possible to determine which sport has the highest rate of SCI per athlete.
Not all spinal cord injuries can be prevented, but you can limit your risk by practicing proper techniques. Football players should practice tackling with the proper form, and hockey players should work on balance training so they don’t fall awkwardly on the ice. For more tips on how to prevent spine injuries during athletics, speak with a back specialist.