Spondylolysis in American Football Players: Etiology, Symptoms, and Implications for Strength and Conditioning Specialists

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Abstract

SPONDYLOLYSIS IS A STRESS FRACTURE, TYPICALLY OCCURRING IN THE LUMBAR SPINE. IT IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF BACK PAIN IN ADOLESCENTS, WITH A HIGHER INCIDENCE IN ATHLETES THAN IN THE GENERAL POPULATION. AMERICAN FOOTBALL PLAYERS DEVELOP THE CONDITION AT A HIGHER RATE THAN MOST OTHER SPORTS, AND THE CONDITION CAN CAUSE SEVERAL MONTHS OF MISSED PLAYING TIME. THIS INCREASED INCIDENCE MAY BE DUE TO THE SPINE LOADING INHERENT IN FOOTBALL, BUT IS LIKELY EXACERBATED BY OTHER FACTORS. THIS ARTICLE DESCRIBES A SPONDYLOLYSIS, DISCUSSES THE POTENTIAL CAUSES, AND CONCLUDES WITH A SERIES OF EXERCISES INTENDED TO ADDRESS LIKELY RISK FACTORS.

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