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CASE REPORT Table of Contents   
Year : 2006  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 273
Cervical spinal cord injury in playing golf - A Case Report

Yorkshire Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, Wakefield, United Kingdom

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How to cite this article:
Jagatsinh Y, Quadri S. Cervical spinal cord injury in playing golf - A Case Report. Indian J Orthop 2006;40:273

How to cite this URL:
Jagatsinh Y, Quadri S. Cervical spinal cord injury in playing golf - A Case Report. Indian J Orthop [serial online] 2006 [cited 2020 Feb 26];40:273. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Golf has become increasingly popular in the 1990s. In US in 1996 there were 20 million players[1] of all ages competing at all skill levels. Compared with many other sports, golf appears to be relatively benign in its potential for injury. However, the game stresses the body in unique ways that can lead to acute and chronic injuries. Given golf's growing popularity, primary care physicians need to be aware of golf­related injuries. Vertebral compression fractures sometimes may occur in golfers who have osteoporosis, an important consideration since golf is not limited to the young. One case series[2] included three osteoporotic women who suffered upper lumbar and lower thoracic vertebral compression fractures while swinging a golf club.

Many of the injuries common in golfers are closely related to golf technique and equipment. But elderly people, especially with degenerative changes in cervical spine with osteophytes, are more vulnerable to injuries like fall, tumble while walking along the uneven ground.

   Case Report Top

A 80 year old male patient without any past history of back or neck problems sustained injury to the cervical spine and developed C5 motor incomplete (ASIA "D") tetraplegia as a direct result of golf. He was wearing the proper spiked golf shoes. After playing the ball with the golf club he was then walking down the green to play another shot. While walking he tumbled down the green. He could not balance himself as he was carrying golf clubs in each hand, and fell face down on the ground. This resulted in hyperextension injury of neck and noticed immediate loss of movements in all four limbs. He was then brought to the Accident and Emergency Department, where he was diagnosed as incomplete tetraplegia (ASIA "C"). There was no fracture on the plain X-rays [Figure - 1] and the MRI showed degenerative changes in the cervical vertebrae with osteophytes and C4/5 cord compression with postero-lateral disc protrusion, also there was C5/6 cord compression with central disc protrusion. The clinical picture resembled like a central cord syndrome [Figure 2]. He was treated conservatively and within 2 weeks he had marked improvement in neurology.

   Discussion Top

Sport related injury account for significant number of traumatic spinal cord injuries. These occur mostly in a young healthy population with most patients spending a long rehabilitation period in hospital and develop life long severe disabilities. Compared to many other sports, golf appears to be relatively benign in its potential for injury. Given golf's growing popularity among elderly people, primary care physicians and coaches need to be aware of these potential elderly sportsmen, who are likely to suffer cervical spinal cord damage with minimal injury, because of degenerative changes in spinal column. The marked positional movements involved are stressful for both the vertebral column and the extremities[3]. A literature search showed papers[4] published on upper limbs, back and neck injury but there was not a single incident reported on spinal cord injury from golf.

The need for early tuition in the safety aspects of the game cannot be underestimated and player education and prior screening strategy are suggested as the main means of reducing injuries in this popular sport.

   References Top

1.Metz JP. Managing golf injuries: Physician Sports Med. 1999; 27: 7.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Ekin JA, Simaki M. Vertebral compression fractures sustained during golfing, report of three cases. Mayo Clin J.1998; 68: 566 - 570.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Wolf T. Injuries and physical complaints caused by golf. Sportvevletz Sportschaden. 1989; 3 : 124-7.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Batt ME. Golfing injuries. An overview. Sports Med. 1993; 16 : 64-71.  Back to cited text no. 4    

Correspondence Address:
Y Jagatsinh
Yorkshire Regional Spinal Injuries Centre, Wakefield
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.34514

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