Brachial neuropraxia in Canadian Atlantic University sport football players: what is the incidence of "stingers"?

Rebecca M E Charbonneau, Sonja A McVeigh, Kara Thompson
Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 2012, 22 (6): 472-7

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were (1) to determine the incidence of brachial neuropraxia (stingers) among varsity football players during the 2010 season; (2) to determine if associations exist between sustaining a stinger and previous history of stingers, years played, equipment, age, body mass index (BMI), and conditioning; and (3) to provide descriptive statistics regarding stingers and position played, symptoms, activity during injury, mechanism of tackling, and reporting of stingers.

DESIGN: Retrospective.

SETTING: Canadian Atlantic University Sport football league.

PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred forty-four players.

ASSESSMENT OF RISK FACTORS: Two written questionnaires.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Number of players experiencing stingers that occurred during the 2010 season.

RESULTS: The incidence was 26% (64 of 244). A multivariate analysis revealed that previous history of a stinger (P < 0.0001) and years played (P = 0.0018) were associated with sustaining a stinger. There was no statistically significant effect related to additional equipment, a player's age, BMI, or participation in a strength training program. Linebackers, offensive linemen, and wide receivers had the highest incidence of stingers. The most frequent symptoms reported were tingling, numbness, burning, and weakness. Of all stingers sustained, only 59% (38 of 64) were reported to medical staff.

CONCLUSIONS: Stingers are a common injury in Canadian university football and are underreported to medical staff. Education of players at increased risk is needed.

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