Lumbar spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis in college football players. A prospective study.

McCarroll JR. Miller JM. Ritter MA. Am J Sports Med. 14(5):404-6, 1986 Sep-Oct.

A prospective study was done on Indiana University freshman football players to determine if the incidence of lumbar spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis followed the pattern of previous studies. Using x-ray film evaluation, 145 freshman players were followed through their careers from 1978 to 1983. As in previous studies, a higher percentage (15.2%) of the defect was found than exists in the general population. However, only 2.4% of these players developed the problem in college, a much lower figure than previously found. Affected team members played a variety of positions. In addition to spondylolysis, some other problems, such as spina bifida occulta, were found. Theories on the cause of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis are reviewed, and preventive suggestions such as more careful training and weight lifting are presented