Radiating Upper Limb Pain in the Contact Sport Athlete: An Update on Transient Quadriparesis and Stingers

Concannon, Leah G. MD1; Harrast, Mark A. MD1,2; Herring, Stanley A. MD, FACSM1,2,3,4

doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e318240dc3f
Spine Conditions

Participation in contact sports exposes the athlete to a risk of cervical spine injury. Temporary neurological injuries manifesting as radiating arm pain or paresthesias, such as transient quadriparesis and stingers, present unique challenges for the sports medicine physician and will be reviewed in detail. The initial management of these conditions must recognize signs and symptoms of spinal cord injury and prevent further neurological sequelae. Evaluation will often include advanced imaging of the cervical spine in addition to serial neurological examinations. This review concludes with rational return-to-play guidelines for contact sport athletes.

1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 2Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 3Spine, Sports and Musculoskeletal Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; and 4Seattle Sports Concussion Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Address for correspondence: Leah Concannon, MD, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Box 359721, 325 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98014 (E-mail: lgconcan@uw.edu).

© 2012 American College of Sports Medicine