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Spine Surgery in the NFL: 6 Player Updates

Spine Surgery in the NFL: 6 Player Updates

Last season, multiple NFL players sustained spinal injuries that may have cut their season short. Here’s a status on where these players on in their recovery efforts, and who is ready to get back in the game.

1. Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys – Quarterback)

  • Injury: Romo suffered from a herniated disc in the lower back that resulted in a pinched nerve, causing leg pain. Initially, it was thought that Romo had a hamstring injury instead of it being a herniated disc issue.
  • Procedure: In December 2013, Romo underwent microdiscectomy, a minimally invasive procedure during which a small portion of bone and the herniated disc are removed to relieve pressure on the nerve root.
  • Status: Romo’s surgery appears to have been successful. He participated in light off-season workouts and played in preseason games.

2. Arian Foster (Houston Texans – Running Back)

  • Injury: Foster suffered from a lumbar herniated disc.
  • Procedure: Foster underwent a microdiscectomy in November 2013.
  • Status: Foster was cleared to play in March. He has a history of hamstring issues, but it is possible that his hamstring issues were a result of the herniated disc. Foster has taken a conservative approach to his recovery, sitting out several practices, but the team does not appear concerned about his ability to play.

3. Ahmad Bradshaw (Indianapolis Colts – Running Back)

  • Injury: Bradshaw suffered from a bulging disc in his neck, forcing him to sit out for the remaining season in October 2013.
  • Procedure: Bradshaw underwent a procedure to remove the bulging disc and fuse the two vertebrae together.
  • Status: Bradshaw has been practicing with the Colts, but has only recently played in a preseason game. Time will tell if he will be ready for play full-time.

4. Jermichael Finley (Green Bay Packers – Tight End)

  • Injury: In October 2013, Finley suffered from a spinal cord contusion after a collision with another player during a game. He was left paralyzed for a short time. His spinal cord was compressed due to the injury.
  • Procedure: Finley underwent an anterior cervical fusion of the C-3 and C-4 vertebrae to decompress the spinal cord.
  • Status: Finley’s contract was up with the Packers at the end of the season, so he is currently a free agent. He was cleared to play by his doctors in May but has not been picked up by any team.

5. Devonte Holloman (Dallas Cowboys – Linebacker)

  • Injury: Holloman suffered from a bruised spinal cord during a preseason game, in addition to a spinal contusion in the previous season, missing 7 games.
  • Procedure: Holloman has not undergone surgery, but may need a spinal fusion to stabilize his spine.
  • Status: Doctors advised Holloman to retire from football to avoid the risk of paralysis. Holloman took his doctor’s advice and has announced he will join the South Carolina Gamecock’s coaching staff as a video assistant.

6. David Wilson (New York Giants – Running Back)

  • Injury: Wilson was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal, following a neck injury during the Week 5 game last year. He was out for the rest of the season. He returned to training camp this year but experienced a neck burner.
  • Procedure: Wilson underwent a spinal fusion in January, but did not require further surgery for the neck burner.
  • Status: Wilson was cleared to play in July after his spinal fusion. However, doctors advised Wilson to retire to avoid the risk of further injury following his neck burner. Wilson retired at age 23.
Source: Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-a-gleiber-md/spine-surgery-in-the-nfl-_b_5739796.html
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