Neurapraxia is often related to sports injuries. Football players making direct “head down” contact with one another increase the possibility of high axial loading to the cervical spinal column. Treatment for neurapraxia is generally “supportive” – meaning treating the injury as early as possible to curtail the development of the problem area. Sometimes treatment will include surgery to alleviate the target area. This is typically seen much more in adults than in children, where neurapraxia is less common.
When localized trauma is concentrated to the cervical spinal cord, this injury is referred to as neurapraxia. This trauma can be induced by over extension, flexion of a limb beyond it’s normal limits, or “head down” contact involving the head (often seen in football). The symptoms of neurapraxia typically last for a short time but can be persistent for two days or more.
In contrast to traumatic spinal cord injury in the general population, the vast majority of spinal cord injuries in athletics involve the cervical spine. Many of these are incomplete injuries, meaning that some neurologic function is preserved. Participants in the following sports are at a higher risk for sustaining a cervical spinal cord injury: football (defensive player/tackling), gymnastics (dismounting), soccer (goalie), ice hockey (being checked from behind, or hitting the boards headfirst), diving (hitting the pool bottom).
¹Abitbol MD, Jean-Jacques. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update: Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2002.