Riding the cycle tour? Don't break your neck

07 March 2018 - 11:44 By Dave Chambers
Image: Supplied by Cape Town Cycle Tour

If you’re taking part in Sunday’s Cape Town Cycle Tour‚ it could be a serious pain in the neck.

Sport-related cervical fractures increased by a third between 2000 and 2015‚ mainly due to an increase in cycling-related injuries‚ according to research presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ annual meeting in New Orleans this week.

Men experienced the most fractures due to cycling‚ while the most common cause of fractures in women was horse-riding.

“Cervical spine injury is a substantial cause of morbidity and mortality‚ and‚ as far as injuries go‚ one of the more devastating injuries that we as orthopaedic surgeons can treat‚” said lead author Mason DePasse‚ from Brown University in Providence‚ Rhode Island.

He and his team used data analytics to examine 50‚000 neck injury cases. “The biggest takeaway was that cycling is the number one cause of neck fractures‚ which suggests we may need to investigate this in terms of safety‚” he said.

DePasse identified 27‚546 patients who sustained a neck injury during a sporting activity. Of these patients‚ the study found:

- Overall‚ the number of neck sprains decreased by 33% from 2000 to 2015; however‚ sprains sustained during weightlifting and aerobic exercise increased by 66%;

- Sporting-related cervical fractures increased by 30% in that time period‚ driven in part by a 300% increase in cycling-related injuries;

- The incidence of injuries in males was 1.7 times higher for neck sprains and 3.6 times greater for fractures when compared to females;

- The most common causes of neck sprains overall were American football‚ followed by weightlifting/aerobics‚ cycling‚ trampoline and diving/swimming;

- Cycling caused the most fractures in males‚ followed by diving/swimming and football; and

- Women experienced the most neck sprains during weightlifting/aerobics‚ trampoline and cheerleading. Horse-riding caused the most cervical fractures in females‚ followed by cycling and diving/swimming.

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