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August 1966

Cardiac Contusion Resulting From "Spearing" in Football: A Case History

Arch Intern Med. 1966;118(2):129-131. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.00290140033007

Blunt trauma to the anterior chest wall is frequently associated with damage to the underlying structures, of which cardiac contusion is one of the most common examples. DeMuth and Zinsser 1 recently reported on 32 cases collected from the literature and added seven of their own. Further survey of the literature revealed 25 other cases2-6 within the past 15 years. Certainly, these reported cases do not clearly indicate the true morbidity of this injury, particularly those incidents occurring on the athletic field, for only one of the 64 reported cases was the result of contact sports.

Athletes are frequently struck in the chest as with a knee, elbow, or head, or fall upon the chest during scrimmage. Although it is customary for the athlete or his coach or trainer to treat such injuries lightly, occasionally the injury is of sufficient severity to cause significant damage to mediastinal structures. This