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22.12.2016 | Review Article | Ausgabe 2/2017

European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery 2/2017

On-scene treatment of spinal injuries in motor sports

European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery > Ausgabe 2/2017
M. Kreinest, M. Scholz, P. Trafford


Because spinal cord injuries can have fatal consequences for injured race car drivers, prehospital treatment of spinal injuries is a major concern in motor sports. A structured procedure for assessing trauma patients and their treatment should follow established ABCDE principles. Only then, a stable patient could be further examined and appropriate measures can be undertaken. For patients in an acute life-threatening condition, rapid transport must be initiated and should not be delayed by measures that are not indicated. If a competitor must first be extricated from the racing vehicle, the correct method of extrication must be chosen. To avoid secondary injury to the spine after a racing accident, in-line extrication from the vehicle and immobilization of the patient are standard procedures in motor sports and have been used for decades. Since immobilization can be associated with disadvantages and complications, the need for immobilization of trauma patients outside of motor sports medicine has become the subject of an increasing number of reports in the scientific literature. Even in motor sports, where specific safety systems that offer spinal protection are present, the indications for spinal immobilization need to be carefully considered rather than being blindly adopted as a matter of course. The aim of this article is to use recent literature to present an overview about the treatment of spinal injuries in motor sports. Further, we present a new protocol for indications for immobilizing the spine in motor sports that is based on the ABCDE principles and takes into account the condition of the patient.

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