During the Triple Crown, jockeys are particularly vulnerable to very serious injuries. Spinal fractures are a common injury in the sport. Most spinal fractures occur in the midback or lower back.
Spinal fractures are often caused by automobile accidents, falling from a height, sports injuries, or other violent acts. The spine may also be fractured by bone insufficiency: osteoporosis, tumors, or other underlying conditions. There are three major fracture patterns: flexion fracture (the anterior portion of the vertebra breaks and loses height), extension fracture (the vertebra is literally pulled apart), and rotation fracture (results from rotation or lateral bending).
Symptoms include pain that is worsened with movement, bowel/bladder dysfunction, and numbness, tingling, or weakness in the limbs.
Treatment usually involves stabilization of the spine if it is suspected at the scene. Doctors will perform neurological tests including the ability to move, feel, and sense the position of all the limbs, reflex testing, and evaluate imaging tests like x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Other treatments involve bracing and adjusting activity levels. Surgery is sometimes required depending on the severity of the injury and the goals of the patient.
See the attached article for more detailed information in thoracic and lumbar spinal fractures. Spinal Fractures
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