GREAT NECK, NY – Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton’s back fracture from a car accident isn’t likely to be a career ender, but it could leave him sidelined for a little bit, a New York spinal specialist says.
“There are many different types of back fractures; the fracture in this case happens to be a transverse process fracture,” says Jason Lipetz, MD, director of spinal rehabilitation for the North Shore-LIJ Spine Center. He adds that the processes of the spine are along the side where muscles and ligaments often connect. “Thankfully, fractures of these bones oftentimes don’t interfere with the nerves of the spine or the spinal cord,” he adds.
Treatment for this type of back fracture is typically rest and sometimes immobilization and pain management.
For Mr. Newton, provided that he did not sustain other injuries in the wreck, this injury might sideline him for some games, but he should be able to get back on the field.
“It’s very important at the time of a transverse process fracture to make sure that that’s all we’re dealing with,” Dr. Lipetz says. “That there aren’t internal injuries, because this means that a great deal of force was involved, resulting in bones actually being broken. To make sure that there are no other injuries to the spine, the nerve elements of the spine and the internal organs. In the absence of that and just an isolated transverse process fracture, it’s certainly not a career-ending injury. It may mean the athlete being sidelined for several weeks and returning to sport as their symptoms allow them to function.”