American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
For Immediate Release Dec 29, 2003

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS:  Cervical spine conditions may affect the safety of sports participation. At the Advanced Team Physician conference last week in Phoenix, Arizona, Stanley Herring, MD presented information regarding the significance of cervical spine issues in athletes. The presence of developmental and acquired anatomical findings, such as congenital fusion of 2 or more skeletal segments, of the cervical spine may or may not be associated with clinical symptoms. These findings determine the relative risk for serious or even catastrophic injury to the athlete.

Dr. Herring recommends careful assessment of the athlete because of the potential for serious or catastrophic injury resulting from unrecognized cervical spine conditions. A thorough history, physical examination, and diagnostic testing are essential in making return-to-play decisions. Close and continuous follow-up as the athlete progresses through rehabilitation is important. Before return-to-play, the team physician should assure that the status of healing is satisfactory to meet the demands of the sport. This includes assessing restoration of sport-specific skills, ensuring psychosocial readiness and confirming that the athlete poses no undue risk to the safety of other participants. Dr. Stanley Herring is a member of American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and Past President of the North American Spine Society.

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was organized in 1991by physicians who recognized the need for an organization within the field of sports medicine that approached athletes, exercising individuals, and teams comprehensively with consultative and continuous care of their orthopedic, medical, nutritional, and psychosocial issues. Although sports medicine concepts are often thought of in conjunction with professional and elite athletes, these concepts apply to athletes of all levels including grade school, high school, college and recreational athletes. AMSSM is comprised of over 800 Sports Medicine Physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 4000 W. 114th St., Suite 100, Leawood, KS 66211, (913) 327-1415.

© The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
4000 W. 114th Street, Suite 100
Leawood, KS 66211
Phone: 913.327.1415

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