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Spine and Back Health

Playing Football with Fused Vertebrae

06/23/2009

Question:

I`m 16 years old and I recently found out I have fused vertebrae. These fused vertebrae caused a stress fracture in my L4 that happened in April and I`m still recovering. My question is can I still play football with fused vertebrae?

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I can't give you a definite answer without seeing your x-rays, including a CT (CAT scan). Vertebrae can fuse in different ways, some of which are stable and some of which are not very stable.

If you have already experienced a stress fracture, especially if this was caused during normal activity, then playing football is probably a terrible idea. You should probably be evaluated by a spine specialist, possibly a sports medicine specialist with an interest in spinal problems if you can find such a doctor, or at the very least by an orthopedist who is knowledgeable about spine. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University