In the News

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Mercyhurst Sports Medicine works with NFL on managing spinal injuries

The NFL season is off and running and with it comes the proverbial hamstring injury, the torn tendon, the groin strain – injuries that players have come to expect as part of this high-energy contact sport. Far less top of mind is the rare but catastrophic cervical spine injury, but that’s exactly the injury that Mercyhurst University researchers are working with Sports Medicine Concepts and the National Football League (NFL) to mitigate.

Jacob Gdovin and Brad Jacobson

One tragic example came Sept. 8 when Tulane University safety Devon Walker fractured his spine in a head-on collision with a teammate as he was attempting to make a tackle. He underwent a three-hour surgery and was still on a ventilator as of Monday, Sept. 17.

“These types of injuries are rare, but they carry the potential for major lifelong disability and that’s the reason for our research,” said Bradley Jacobson, chair of the Mercyhurst University Sports Medicine Department. “What’s most important to the successful care of these injured athletes is their on-field management.”

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