Background Judo is a martial art focused on the use of grasping the neck with the high risk of the cervical spine injury. Therefore on examination which qualifies to practicing judo, it is mandatory to perform an X-ray scan of the cervical spine segment.
Objective To evaluate whether radiological diagnosis of cervical spine instability among children is an absolute or relative contraindication to practicing judo. Impact assessment of contact sport on the incidence of cervical spine instability among children – recognition and prevention.
Design Retrospective descriptive study.
Setting Judo beginners.
Participant 22 children aged 7 to 12.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) The young athletes underwent X-ray examination of the cervical spine, using the A-P and lateral views. When instability was diagnosed, additional functional radiographic examinations (flexion-extension view) was ordered.
Main Outcome Measurements 12 cases with instability were followed by consultation with a neurosurgeon, and children orthopedist.
Results The study assessed 22 young athletes performing judo. In this group, there was only 1 case (4.55%) with no cervical spine lesions found, 9 cases (40.90%) with lesions which did not present a contraindication to practice sport and 12 cases (54.55%) with instability.
Conclusions In case of finding instability in stationary X-rays and confirming in flexion-extension X-rays (lateral views) resulting only from the laxity of the capsular and ligamentous system, it is possible to allow practicing judo in case of children below 12 years old, on condition of undergoing the systematic and comprehensive examination. It is necessary to introduce general physical training to strengthen the muscles in the cervical segment, before starting technical training.
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