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May 17, 1965

Lateral-Flexion Neck Injuries in Athletic Competition

Author Affiliations

From Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

JAMA. 1965;192(7):613-615. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080200031009

Neck injuries are infrequent in college athletes compared to extremity injuries but are especially important because of their serious potential. Schneider1 has discussed the possibility of fatal outcome from cervical hyperextension in football, when the face bar of the helmet is used as a lever to force the head backward. In our experience, a more common injury is a lateral neck sprain, the so-called nerve pinch in trainers' terminology. The typical injury is a blow on the side of the head, with immediate pain from the base of the neck to the hand, prickly paresthesia of the whole arm, and inability to move the extremity. Within a few minutes, this set of sensations disappears, leaving a dull ache in the neck and shoulder of the affected side. Within a few more minutes, the injured player is seeking and often obtains permission to return to the game. Only later does

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