Common Shoulder Injuries in American Football Athletes


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Abstract

American football is a collision sport played by athletes at high speeds. Despite the padding and conditioning in these athletes, the shoulder is a vulnerable joint, and injuries to the shoulder girdle are common at all levels of competitive football. Some of the most common injuries in these athletes include anterior and posterior glenohumeral instability, acromioclavicular pathology (including separation, osteolysis, and osteoarthritis), rotator cuff pathology (including contusions, partial thickness, and full thickness tears), and pectoralis major and minor tears. In this article, we will review the epidemiology and clinical and radiographic workup of these injuries. We also will evaluate the effectiveness of surgical and nonsurgical management specifically related to high school, collegiate, and professional football athletes.

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