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Radiographic Signs of Spinal Degeneration in Young Football Players

Monday, 03 November 2008 18:45
A new report challenges the widely held belief that youths that play football are at an increased risk of radiographic spinal abnormalities.

Investigators examined lumbar radiographs of 104 football players prior to their first season of college play.  They also analyzed lumbar x-rays of 83 age-matched controls.  Researchers found that the rate of spondylolysis did not differ significantly between the two groups. And, football players were less likely to show radiographic signs of degeneration. Specifically, "the control group had a 16.9% incidence of disk space narrowing and spurring and the football players had a 6.7% incidence," researchers report.

Jones DM, Tearse DS, El-Khoury GY, et al.  Radiographic abnormalities of the lumbar spine in college football players. A comparative analysis   Am J Sports Med 1999 (May);   27 (3):   335-338