Cervical Spine Immobilization in Sports Related Injuries: Review of Current Guidelines and a Case Study of an Injured Athlete

JS Bhamra*, 1, Y Morar2, WS Khan1, K Deep2, A Hammer2
1 Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Brockley Hill, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4LP, UK
2 Medway Maritime Hospital, Windmill Road, Gillingham, Kent, ME7 5NY, UK

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© Bhamra et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Brockley Hill, Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7 4LP, UK; Tel: 07968353356; Fax: 02089542300; E-mail:


Cervical spine immobilization is an essential component of the ATLS® system. Inadequate training in the management of trauma calls and failure of early recognition can have disastrous consequences. Pre-hospital personnel are routinely involved more in the assessment and stabilization of patients in comparison to other health care professionals.

This case study and review highlights the importance of early recognition, assessment and correct stabilization of cervical spine injuries both in the field and during the initial assessment in hospital.

Inadequate assessment, immobilization and lack of standard guidelines on the management of suspected cervical spine trauma can result in secondary injury. Regular assessment and training of pre-hospital and medical personnel is essential to the proper management of these potentially devastating injuries.

Keywords: Athletes, case report, guidelines, review, sports related injuries, traumatic cervical spine injury.