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A stress fracture of the lumbar spine in a professional rugby player
  1. Bernard H Castinel1,
  2. Philippe Adam1,
  3. Christophe Prat2
  1. 1Centre d’Imagerie de la Clinique des Cèdres, Château d’Alliez, Cornebarrieu, France
  2. 2Equipe médicale, Stade Toulousain Rugby, Toulouse, France
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr B H Castinel
 Centre d’Imagerie de la Clinique des Cèdres, Château d’Alliez, 31 700 Cornebarrieu, France; bcastinel{at}


In modern rugby, the spine is subjected to great physical pressure, with an increased number of impacts, on both the cervical and the lumbar spine. This case report illustrates overuse injuries of the lumbar spine in international professional rugby players. A 32-year-old sportsman had been practising rugby for 24 years and was playing for a championship level French team when he started suffering from a right lateral pain in the lumbosacral spine. A CT scan showed a unilateral isthmolysis and a coronal irregular fracture of the right pars interarticularis of L5. This led to discussion of (1) the importance of the decision on the date of return to playing rugby and (2) the future of professional rugby players with chronic spinal injuries.

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  • Published Online First 29 November 2006

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of his details in this paper.