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Before and after major neck surgery
  1. Stefano Della Villa
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stefano Della Villa, Education Research Department, Isokinetic Medical Group, Bologna 40132, Italy; s.dellavilla{at}

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Sporty beginnings

I have always loved sport, and I entered into the sports medicine environment for this reason. During my life I have enjoyed swimming, skiing, running, tennis and football, and I have always tried to fit as many of these activities around my family and work commitments as possible.

From a career perspective I was lucky enough to work with the San Francisco 49ers at a young age, before having a wonderful experience working as a sports physician in a Bologna during the next stage of my career. The biggest joy of my professional life was bringing the football medicine community together in recent years via the isokinetic conferences. In short, I love sport and it has played a major part in my life.


I was very fortunate in that for a long time I had never experienced anything close to a serious pathology. I remember feeling surprised when I was first diagnosed with my neck symptoms—how was it possible that an ‘unbreakable man’ like me could have such pain? Eventually I came to humbly understand that I was a normal human being, as vulnerable and as capable of being injured as all the patients that I had seen during my working life.

Following an MRI, I received the diagnosis of triple cervical disc herniation with …

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