Football (soccer)-related spinal cord injury—reported cases from 1976 to 2020

Manoj K. Poudel, Andrew L. Sherman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study design: An analysis of reported cases. Objectives: To analyze the existing data on soccer (international football)-related spinal cord injury (SCI). Setting: Cases of soccer (international football)-related SCI that were reported globally. Methods: PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, and online news publication databases were searched. Results: Fourteen cases of football-related SCI that occurred between 1976 and 2020 were found. Average age at the time of injury was 19 and 86% of individuals were males. Eight of 14 individuals had vertebral fracture/dislocation, whereas two individuals had concomitant traumatic brain injury. Neurologically, 54% had tetraplegia, 39% had paraplegia, and 8% each suffered from hemiplegia and sensory deficit. Two cases could regain ability to walk with orthosis and four had full mobility with “Return to Play” (RTP). The mortality was 14%. Conclusions: Younger males were most commonly affected. The most common etiology, vertebral level of injury, and neurological manifestation was fall, cervical spine, and tetraplegia respectively. More than 50% of the individuals with football-related SCI were able to walk or RTP after rehabilitation. Further studies are required to establish universal RTP criteria and formulate preventive measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106
JournalSpinal cord series and cases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Medicine(all)


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