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Mercyhurst University presents new research on managing spinal injuries to NFL
Date:9/17/2012

The NFL season is off and running and with it comes the proverbial hamstring injury, the torn tendon, the groin strain injuries that players have come to expect as part of this high-energy contact sport. Far less top of mind is the rare but catastrophic cervical spine injury, but that's exactly the injury that Mercyhurst University researchers are working with Sports Medicine Concepts and the National Football League (NFL) to mitigate.

One tragic example came Sept. 8 when Tulane University safety Devon Walker fractured his spine in a head-on collision with a teammate as he was attempting to make a tackle. He underwent a three-hour surgery and was still on a ventilator as of Monday, Sept. 17.

"These types of injuries are rare, but they carry the potential for major lifelong disability and that's the reason for our research," said Bradley Jacobson, chair of the Mercyhurst University Sportsmedicine Department. "What's most important to the successful care of these injured athletes is their on-field management."

Jacobson and graduate student Jacob Gdovin spent the summer presenting their research on proper protocols for managing the on-field care of football players with apparent cervical cord injuries to medical staffs of NFL teams. Working with Mike Cendoma, CEO of Sports Medicine Concepts of Livonia, N.Y., they presented to the New York Giants, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts. The daylong sessions were directed at team neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers and paramedics.

"Because these types of injuries are infrequent, the protocols for handling them probably aren't practiced as much as they should be," Jacobson said. "How to remove equipment with minimal movement to the player; how to access exposure to the chest for compressions and the airway for ventilations while stabilizing the head and neck efficiently Every staff member needs to know his or her specific role.
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Contact: Debbie Morton
dmorton@mercyhurst.edu
814-824-2552
Mercyhurst College
Source:Eurekalert  

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