Back and Neck Injury/Sons neck


My 16 year old son broke his c5 and c7 in a car accident. He is a star football player on his high school football team. Will he ever be able to play again? If so what can we do to help him making it stronger so that he can.

Hi Chris,

Sorry for the late response, I need to contact tech support to find out why I am still not getting my notifications.

I am sorry to hear about your son. I played football in high school and got a bad stinger, which essentially ended my hopes for the future. That is all I ever wanted to do. So, your son would really have to want to return. Motivation would be the prime indicator. After nearly breaking mine, that was it.

The prognosis regarding the possibility of him playing would need to be determined by his surgeon. It depends on the type of break and repair. Physical therapy rehabilitation should be able to allow his neck to get as strong as possible.

It also depends on his progress. There may be residual problems. If his range of motion is affected, this could put him at risk for future injuries playing football. Re-injury of the damaged area could be dangerous. The stinger I received while tackling caused damage and may be responsible for some of the problems I have been through later in life. Often, this type of damage can cause degeneration. This might be visible on radiographic studies about 4 years after the damage.

So, my initial reaction is no. The risk of re-injury to an area that may have plates, rods and screws would be too much. However, there are many details lacking, therefore; those involved with his repair and rehab would be best able to determine his capability, as well as assess the risks.

This is a difficult thing to deal with since I have been through less and gave up. Just too scary. I was not willing to take the chance. If I had a son, I would be concerned, based on my personal experience, about him playing. I would not stop him, however, I would want to make sure he was being coached correctly. I was your son's age when I was injured. Many years ago, but I remember it like yesterday.

Well, I could go on here, but I wish I could be more helpful and wish your son all the best in life, football or not. There are many career choices relating to football and sports. I wound up doing martial arts and healing.

Kind regards,

Dr. Steve

Back and Neck Injury

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr. Steve Ornstein


I can answer questions regarding neck and back pain treatment and general musculoskeletal conditions. Acute, chronic and degenerative conditions using various methods; exercise, rehabilitation, traction. Pain relief methods and professional quality products via website at which can be used at home.


Graduated Chiropractic College in 1987, working in numerous clinics within two states using a variety of manual and physiological therapies. Involved in martial arts for 20 years.

Chiropractor Sherman College, Certified in Physiological Therapeutics from National Chiropractic College, Certified Peer Review Consultant from New York Chiropractic College, Studied with Dr. Cox using Flexion Distraction Technique, Studied with Dr. Leahy using Active Release Technique. Myofascial Release with Dr. Rockwell - Parker Chiropractic College. Certified in Modic Antibiotic Spinal Therapy.

©2016 All rights reserved.