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  1. Y Nakagawa1,
  2. S Mukai1,
  3. Y Hattori2,
  4. T Nakamura1
  1. 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National Hospital Organization, Kyoto Medical Center, Kyoto, Japan
  2. 2Tokai Gakuen University, Miyoshi, Japan


Background Sumo has long been a traditional sport in Japan, and recently is becoming a popular sport that is rapidly attracting enthusiasts abroad. With the aim of having the sport included in the Olympics, World Women's Sumo Championships as well as World Sumo Championship have also been held since 1999.

Objectives The purpose of this study was to examine the radiological changes in the cervical spine in freshman collegiate and high school sumo wrestlers and the relationship between the radiological changes and the cervical spine symptoms.

Design Epidemiology.

Setting High school league and elite division.

Participants We examined one hundred and sixteen freshman collegiate and 41 high school sumo wrestlers who belonged to the Japanese Sumo Federation. They were high level players.

Interventions They underwent routine radiographic examination of their cervical spine and questionnaire of their cervical symptoms as a medical check.

Results Their mean height was 175.1 cm, weight was 113.9 kg, body mass index was 37.1 kg/m2, and sumo career was 8.5 years in college. High school sumo wrestlers were significantly smaller than collegiate ones in weight, BMI and sumo career. 14 high school wrestlers (34.1%) and 46 collegiate ones (39.7%) had some cervical symptoms. The correlation between the deformity of cervical spine and cervical syndrome was significant. Seventy-three percent showed disappearance in lordosis, 39% showed osteophyte formation (mainly C3/4), 6% showed disc space narrowing (mainly C5/6) and 54% showed narrowing in the cervical nerve root foramen (mainly C3/4).

Conclusion Comparing with our previous study, we concluded that the disappearance in lordosis and narrowing in the cervical nerve root foramen of C3/4 was due to the axial load they incurred in training during high school, and osteophyte formation and disc space narrowing of C5/6 occurred in training during collegiate and postgraduate in sumo wrestling.

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